I saw the show today and the section about a guy buying a puppy infested with round worms and was worried about catching the worms from the dog caught my attention. I am a long time dog owner and also pay attention to what goes on in the world of pets. First thing about the guy that made me cringe was he bought the puppy knowing it was infected with worms from a mall pet store. Any pet bought should be sold in healthy condition! No worms, illness, or major medical issues going on or it is not in sellable condition. Second thing was the mall pet store. They are the worst place to buy a dog or cat, or any pet of any kind in my opinion. They are known to sell sick, possibly inbred puppies from puppy mills. Puppy mills have been all over the news the last few years and even featured on Oprah!! Why would you spend hundreds of dollars on a sick puppy from a mall when you could go to a real breeder (not a backyard breeder with no real breeding knowledge), or a rescue group (there are purebred rescues), or a shelter and save a life? 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred.
I’m not happy about these things not being mentioned at all on the show. Maybe time didn’t permit or they didn’t know to say it. I see the “ask a vet” section on this site, so that just proves someone should know these things.
Anyone else got a view on this? Am I the only one who noticed?
am veterinarian and watching the show I was extremely worried about the nonchalant manner that roundworm infections were discussed. Parasitology is a very important topic in vet medicine and is a specific concern for zoonosis (animal to human infections), There is a great human concern for round worms and some other intestinal parasites can cause serious ramifications!! I was shocked at the information presented on the show!!
First of all a response to the other post… ALL puppies are born with intestinal parasites. They get them from the mother-they are either transplacentally (across the placenta in during gestation) or transmammary (through milk during nursing). And numerous prescription (NOT from the pet store) dewormers are necessary to prevent shedding of infectious eggs into the environment. It has been documented that puppies with roundworms can shed up to 100,000+ eggs/gram. Total daily output for one heavily infected mother dog and puppies was recorded at 15 MILLION eggs/day. A study performed on my parasitologists 2 puppies revealed 2 lightly infected puppies ca shed an average of 10,983 eggs/gram of feces. It was also found that they had a total output of 294,500 eggs/defecation and a total output for one week of >20.5 million eggs.This was just a study looking at round worm eggs!! Adult hookworms can produce 20,000 eggs PER DAY. Deworming only kills off the adult worms. Most life cycles are approx every 21 days therefore strategic deworming protocols rec starting deworming early (usually between 4-6 weeks of age) and then repeated every 3 weeks until usually around 4 months of age which then hopefully they are on a monthly heartworm prevention that has a monthly parasite PREVENTATIVE-usually not enough to DEWORM. The other major comment I will make here is that deworming is something that should be performed by your veterinarian. There are many prescription only products that should not be available over the counter (but sometimes are available over the internet or in pet/feed stores). I have also heard of using oral horse and cattle dewormers-this can be very dangerous!! I saw a dog go blind for a short period of time for licking an oral horse deworming paste off the ground when the owner was deworming their horse-the dog didn’t even ingest much!!) Also vets can perform the all important fecal analysis and determine which worms are present and how many eggs are present.
Visually inspecting the feces is NOT a way to determine if worms are present!! The most commonly seen intestinal parasite of digs seen in feces are tapeworms which are NOT ZOONOTIC (unless you ingest a flea which still is NOT considered zoonotic!!). Round worms are only shed as adults when there is an overwhelming amount of worms!! The other forms of intestinal parasites are usually so small that detection by the naked eye is rare and passage outside rarely occurs. Roundworm eggs are very resistant in he environment to decontamination practices-once in the environment the eggs are very sticky and can persist!! By picking the feces up each time your pet goes or minimally every 2-3 days will prevent contamination in the environment-takes a little time for the eggs to become infectious in the environment. If you pick up poop frequently the environment doesn’t get as contaminated. Apartment buildings and common dog areas are very common for transmission. Most parasites are fecal oral transmission. Meaning that puppies can contaminate the environment and act as a source for re-infection of the same dog (if not on preventative) as well as other pets and people.
People infections are not very common but when they occur it can be dangerous. Children are more at risk due to dirty hands going into their mouths but also children with pica or other developmental abnormalities can cause increased risk. Also immuno-compriomised individuals are more at risk (but even cancer patients, AIDS/HIV patients CAN have pets safety IF they have a close working relationship between their doctors AND their VET!!!). Humans are not the normal host for these parasites. when they are ingested into our bodies they can get confused and begin migration through a variety of tissues and where they end up can depend on the dose and age of the person infected. Visceral larval migrans (VLM-migration of worms in abnormal tissues and organs) is most common in children 1-5 years old. Can infect the liver** most common, lungs, etc). The eyeball is another location roundworms like to hang out-Ocular larval migrans (OLM). Second to cancer-roundworms in the eye is the second leading cause of blindness in children (retinoblastoma). OLM usually occurs in older children 7-8 years old. (“In a group of ophthalmology practice in Atlanta, toxocaral (roundworm related) OLM accounted for 37% of all retinal diseases diagnosed in children in an 18 month period of time.”) I believe the gastroenterologist was discussing whats considered Covert toxocariasis-which causes milder symptoms. Weakness/lethargy, liver enlargement (hepatomegaly), abdominal pain, respiratory signs, etc. Humans can also be infected or exposed and be asymptomatic or clinically in-apparent infection-which is the most common. (however considering the other possibilities is it worth hoping for this one??) The other very important thing to remember is when worms are migrating through abnormal tissue (eye, liver, lungs, brain) they are NOT shedding eggs into the intestinal tract! Therefore many times humans will have a negative fecal sample for eggs.Because of this roundworm infections in humans must be diagnosed by other means (MRI/CAT scans, specific blood work looking for worms (ELISA-looking for your body’s response to the worms) and other more routine blood work (red cell/white cell counts and organ profiles depending on shat organs involved)., It is also important to remember tho that it can be difficult to locate-OLM often do not test positive on the more specific testing methods because the eye is blocked off from the rest of the body’s immune system.
I am a huge advocate for pets and children, as people age, people with chronic illness, etc. They are a great source of joy and love!! The human animal bond is an amazing bond. I see it every day when I see a child’s amazement with their puppy. We MUST educate children to have good hand washing practices as well as take good responsible pet care for our health and the health of our pets. This can also be a great learning opportunity for your children-teaching them responsible pet ownership and good husbandry (pet care) practices. Children and animals (even puppies) can live together without incident but an ounce of prevention is best. Strategic deworming practices by your vet as well as discussing parasitic diseases with them can keep both you and your pet symptom free. And prevention can be as easy as a monthly heartworm prevention-all have some variety of intestinal parasite deworming.Some heartworm preventions cover different intestinal parasites as well and can often have other functions (flea preventative, tick, etc). It is important to seek veterinary advice for this information. There are a lot of mis-informed people dosing out advice on the net-I have heard of deworming dogs with a cigarette. While a cigarette migh work in theory (the nicotinic receptors in the parasite are affected by the nicotine in the cigarette) but there are other toxic and dangerous substances-and lets face it deworming is not expensive and it is very very very important for these reasons to do it right!!
And roundworms are only the tip of the parasitic iceberg… There are other zoonotic concerns of importance-Hookworms. These can infect human by penetration of the skin by hooks on their mouth parts… Some scary pics are available on the internet and in heartworm and parasite brochures in your vet clinic!! One reason I will never walk barefoot outside or on a beach-Thanks Dr. K-my parasit proff)! These to are also covered by most of the dewormers that deworm against roundworms but are equally important in puppies especially!!
I LOVE the show-I DVR every episode and watch daily. I just could not let this topic go-I had an amazing parasitology professor at Purdue university ( Dr. Kevin Kazacos, DVM, PhD) who is well known for his work on OLM (he was the worm eye guy!!) but also did extensive study on Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon round worm. This roundworm is of even more significance causing mental retardation and blindness but that is a completely topic… Many of the numbers I quoted on Roundworm egg shedding was based upon a study he performed on his own puppies. He also found the best way to decontaminate your yard is burning with a blowtorch-his wife is a saint (and also the pathology professor at Purdue). This is a very important zoonotic topic that I as a veterinarian take very seriously. I discuss this with every pet owner and give strong warnings especially when i see children or pregnant clients. I feel it is my duty as a medical professional to give the education needed to live along WITH your pets safely and healthy.
Thanks Again-I LOVE the show!!
Dr. Mary Gettelfinger, DVM
It is also very important to know that a NEGATIVE fecal does NOT NOT NOT mean your pet is negative for parasites. Especially in puppies!!! Parasites are like chickens-they do NOT produce eggs constantly and depending on the method used to check a fecal sample-some yeaild better results that others. There are also several parasites that I KNOW are difficult to find but will often deworm based upon an index of suspicion…
Also too-even if the mother dog has had a negative fecal, as well as on a preventative, etc-they can still pass parasites to their puppies! Adult dogs can have parasites that hand out in their muscles and wait for the pregnancy hormones to call them out to infect puppies!! Nasty lil critters but they ARE parasites!!! Their goal for survival is to move into another host!!
Also one LAST parasitic rant…. PIN WORMS DO NOT COME FROM DOGS AND CATS!!!!! Dogs and cats DO NOT harbor or transmit human pin worms!! In people scratching (as the worms exit) leads to hand contamination-hand to mouth transfer as well as contamination of the home, schools, etc. The most common source for human exposure is from contaminated clothing, bedding, towels, and common areas.
Just HAD to include that aside!! LOL ;0