Four good reasons to wash your hands after patting your pet and to worm your pet.
Hookworm larvae can get into your skin, and migrate around
underneath the skin. This causes extremely itchy and unsightly eruptions.
Hookworms (Necator and Ancylostoma) are generally contracted by walking barefoot on soil contaminated by faeces from infected animals or persons, or by swimming or wading in contaminated water. Hookworm larvae are capable of penetrating the skin in a few seconds. Once inside the body, they migrate to the lungs via the capillaries, and then cross into the air sacs of the lungs. They are eventually coughed up and swallowed. In the intestines, they feed on blood and reproduce. The females lay eggs that are passed in the faeces to repeat the cycle.
Roundworms are the most common kind of puppy worms and many puppies are born with them as an infected mother dog can pass them onto her puppies’ in-
Roundworms can be passed onto humans, and children are most at risk as they tend to play close to the ground where they can come into contact with infected soil, grass or even the feces themselves. A child’s tendency to put their hands in their mouth, and to be less stringent about personal hygiene makes them an easy target. A faecal exam performed by your veterinarian can detect the presence of roundworms, and appropriate medications usually cure the problem fairly quickly.
More usually acquired from kittens, this fungal infection causes itchy and unsightly round sores on human skin, and can spread easily. It does not usually spread between people. Tinea corporis, commonly known as ringworm, is an infection of the skin found on the body, such as the trunk and limbs.
Hydatid tapeworms live in dogs and pass their eggs with the faeces. If a
human swallows these eggs, (for example, patting the dog then not washing hands before
eating), the eggs hatch inside the human gut and burrow through the gut wall into the body. Here they migrate and settle in various organs, and slowly grow into large fluid filled cysts. Usually the liver or lungs are affected, but there have been cases of cysts growing in the brain, behind the eye, and in bones. It usually takes some 10
years before cysts grow large enough to start causing problems, and must be removed
surgically. If the cysts burst, the person can go into anaphylactic shock and die.
Hydatid disease is caused by the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosa (eh-
Symptoms: What to look out for?
Most cases are diagnosed by accident during other medical checks. It is common for people to be asymptomatic (not feel sick) until cysts are quite big. Symptoms will also vary depending on the number of cysts, their location, and their size. When a cyst breaks open, it can cause severe allergic reactions. It can release protoscoleces (infective larvae) that may start secondary infections. Liver cysts may cause jaundice (yellow skin) if they break open, and lung cysts can cause coughing, tiredness, and chest pain.