Worms and other intestinal parasites are a common problem with pets. Some of these can be transmitted from the "mother", some are transmitted by fleas, and some are picked up in the normal course of "pets being pets" (pets will walk in contamination from other pets and lick parts of their body to clean themselves).
Controlling parasites is also critical since people can become infected with certain parasites from their own pet. The C.D.C. (Center for Disease Control) has said that everyone in the United States is at potential risk (up to 32% of soil samples taken from public places are contaminated with contagious intestinal parasites).
We make the following recommendations:
All young pets should be repeatedly dewormed until the age of 4 months. Different medications and/or monthly preventative pills can be used.
All adult pets should be dewormed once a year.
It is not worth the risk to assume that your pet is parasite free.
All pets should have a fecal sample examined by the hospital once yearly, if the doctor is concerned about other types of infection (coccidia, giardia, etc.). This test is done with a microscope since most parasites are not visible to the naked eye. Your doctor can advise you.
All pets should be given a once-a-month worm preventative pill.
This medication is inexpensive and extremely safe. As long as your pet is given the monthly pill it will be protected from worms that are transmissible to people. It also makes the yearly deworming process much easier.
Pregnant women should not clean out the cat's litter box or do any gardening (working with the hands in the soil) without gloves on.
Remember, the incidence of pet-to-human worm transmission in our area is low, so don't panic. Rather, caution is "the key".