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Four Gastrointestinal Parasites that Can Be Found in Dogs and Cats

Last updated 3 years ago

Though some of us like to think that we have an innate ability to communicate with our pets, sometimes it’s hard to tell when our pets are sick. Sure, we can tell if a pet is wounded on the outside, but internal ailments—such as gastrointestinal parasites—always require a visit to the vet. Here are four gastrointestinal parasites that can be found in both dogs and cats:   

1. Roundworms

Roundworm eggs can infect a dog or cat even after being in the soil for years. As your pet walks through the grass, roundworm eggs get on the fur and are ingested during regular grooming. Roundworm eggs hatch when they reach the stomach, and quickly mature into long, spaghetti-like adults.

2. Hookworms

Unlike roundworms, hookworm larvae can actually penetrate your pet’s skin—though ingestion is the most common method of entry. Once they mature into adults, hookworms attach to the lining of your pet’s small intestine and feed on blood. If the infection is allowed to continue, your pet can experience anemia—the deficiency of healthy red blood cells.

3. Coccidia

Coccidia refers to the many species of protozoa that can invade your pet’s small intestine. Most of these species are harmless and are quickly dispatched by your pet’s immune system. Certain coccidial infections, however, can cause severe diarrhea and need to be treated right away.

4. Giardia

Giardia are one-celled organisms that can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss in young animals, or survive without showing clinical symptoms in adult pets. Most cats and dogs contract giardia by drinking contaminated water.

If you suspect that your pet has any of the above parasites or any other nasty ailment, contact Lake Emma Animal Hospital. After performing a number of tests, our skilled vets will recommend the appropriate treatment. Don’t let your pet suffer any more than he already has—call us today at (407) 333-2901.    


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