Could your pet pass worms onto your family?

Your pet could pass worms onto your family. The term “zoonosis” refers to the transmission of a disease from one species to another, and in the case of worms, it’s the parasite itself. Worms are designed to spread. It’s how they’ve survived and evolved for millennia – so while your pet might be their host of choice, a human host will also suffice. And that’s why it’s imperative to understand that protecting your pet properly safeguards your whole family.

Worms can pass from pets to people simply by having a pet that is not routinely treated for worms. We can become infected when microscopic worm larvae penetrate our skin, especially when walking barefoot or sitting on contaminated soil or sand. Children are most at risk due to their likelihood of playing in soil and sand where the eggs or larvae of these parasites are shed in the faeces of infected animals. Children can also be infected by ingesting material contaminated with microscopic worm eggs or larvae through play and/or not washing their hands before eating.

Although in Australia cases are rare, the risk of worms passing from your unprotected pet to your family is always present.  Symptoms can range from itchy skin lesions, stomach upsets and anaemia, through to damage to internal organs and blindness to name a few.  Fortunately, all of the above can be easily avoided by ensuring your pet undergoes a regular, monthly treatment with a quality, comprehensive parasite-protection product – ideally, something like Advocate that kills gastrointestinal worms and their larvae. Personal and environmental hygiene are also important.  Ensure hands are washed after playing outdoors or playing with your pet and removing and disposing of any faeces from your yard daily.  If you suspect that your pet is suffering from the symptoms of a parasite infection, don’t put it off – get them treated as soon as possible. It isn’t just your pet’s health depending on it.