Why do we always want to run fecal tests? My cat is indoor only and my dog barely goes outside. Well, that may not be enough to protect your pet and family against zoonotic parasites.
In 2002 a study was published by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. They completed a study at the Zoological Garden of Rio de Janeiro testing various species of flies and what parasites they may or may not carry on their bodies and legs. The results, will make you think twice about that fly on your sandwich.
They captured 41,080 flies during their 2 year study, 94.31% of which, were flies we can find in the United States, including the common house fly. Their research showed that the latrine fly and the common house fly had the highest incidence of parasite eggs on their body surface and in their intestinal content. Many of the parasite eggs found on the body surface and in the intestinal content were Toxocara canis, Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina, or more commonly known as roundworms. Besides eggs it was also found parasite larvae on the body surface of flies. We did mention this may make you lose your lunch, right?
So, let’s put this in context. A fly is buzzing around your backyard and lands on the feces of an infected animal, say a neighborhood roaming dog or a feral cat. The fly then enters your house and lands on the dog’s bowl of food, cat food, or better yet, your sandwich. There is a chance that fly could be carrying parasite eggs on their legs. So anything it lands on may or may not get eggs transferred to it. In turn, your dog or your indoor only cat then eats the food (or even the fly, with cats, it can happen more often than you think). Eggs are ingested and then begin the lovely trip to your pet’s intestines where they begin their life cycle, only stopped if your pet is on a monthly medication for intestinal parasites. Your pet then sheds the eggs in their stool, which is cleaned up by humans, who may or may not wash their hand before eating (children have a high risk of this), then are passed on to the human…..and well you can figure it out from here. This is especially risky when children play outside in sandboxes where feral cats may mistake the play area as a litter box.
This brings us back to why we strongly recommend annual fecal checks for your pet. Because your pet can come in contact with parasites just about anywhere. Even an indoor cat that eats a bug in the house could be susceptible. (Another study in 2005 found cockroaches can carry roundworm eggs on their legs and bodies, too!) Monthly intestinal parasite prevention such as Sentinel, Trifexis, Heartguard, Advantage Multi and Revolution can be a simple way to help protect your pet and your family. By continually checking the stool, we ensure that the medications are doing their de-worming job and preventing a potential infection in your pet.
So the scoop on poop is, you can’t be too safe when it comes to protecting your family, both human and fur babies. Get your pet’s annual fecal test done, keep your pet on a monthly intestinal parasite prevention and wash your hands after petting animals, playing outside and especially after cleaning up after your pet.
Keep your family safe, healthy and in the know with Hawthorne University!