Intestinal parasites and your pet

As a cat or dog owner, you have probably heard about the importance of “worming” your pet and taking other steps to prevent parasitic infection. But, do you even know the type of parasite or parasites you are trying to protect your kitty or pooch from getting? There are actually many different types of intestinal parasites. Parasites can cause a great deal of harm to your cat or dog and understanding the differences between them and how they infect your pet is important when it comes to preventing and treating parasite problems.


One type of intestinal protozoa that can affect nearly any type of domestic animal is the coccidian. There are actually many different types of coccidian, with each affecting different types of animals. When it comes to dogs and cats, the most common type of coccidia infection is the Isopora.

The way most animals get coccidia is from eating infected fecal matter or by eating an animal that had been infected with the worm. For example, if your cat were to eat a mouse that is infected with coccidia, your kitty may then become infected.

For the mot part, a coccidial infection is harmless. In fact, many researchers believe that nearly every dog and cat has had the parasite at one time or another. In most cases, the symptoms associated with a coccidial infection are minimal. In more severe cases, however, your cat or dog may have bloody and watery diarrhea. These more severe cases are usually only seen in situations where the animal is highly confined, such as at pet shops and kennels. In theses cases, it is usually necessary to treat all of the animals and thoroughly clean the facility in order to get rid of the parasite.


Another type of intestinal parasite your dog or cat may pick up is Giardia. The Giardia is a one-celled organism in the shape of a pear that can infect your pet’s small intestine. When giardia infects young animals, it usually results in watery diarrhea as well as weight loss, dehydration and a general unkempt appearance. Adult animals, on the other hand, may carry an infection without showing any signs or symptoms

Most pets that contract Giardia become infected after drinking water that has been contaminated, generally out of a stream or pond. In order to treat giardiasis, certain drugs need to be administered. The resulting illness can be quite severe, however, which may mean that long term care is necessary in order to successfully treat the illness.

In order to prevent reinfection, it is important to keep your home properly sanitized. It is particularly important to keep fecal matter out of your pet’s food and water. Otherwise, your pet will reinfect itself and treatment will need to be repeated.

There are many other types of organisms that can potentially infect your animal and cause it to become sick. Therefore, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away if your pet seems to be ill. That way, treatment can begin as soon as possible and your pet can get on the road to recovery right away.