Pets Can Bring Parasite Dangers

A few common-sense steps can keep germs away from loved ones, group says

SATURDAY, March 10, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Fluffy and Fido need petting, of course, but they can also carry parasites, experts warn.

Simple steps can help prevent the transmission of parasites and disease from your pets to family members and other people, according to the nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).

"At CAPC, we work to let people know not only that risks from parasites exist, but more importantly, that there are simple ways to mitigate those risks and keep everyone healthy," Michael Paul, executive director of CAPC, Bel Air, Md., said in a prepared statement.

The council offers the following tips:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with an animal.
  • Don't allow children to put dirt in their mouths. Soil or animal feces on the ground may be contaminated with the larvae or eggs of parasites.
  • Pick up dog and cat waste from your yard daily, especially in areas where both children and pets play.
  • Cover sandboxes to keep out pet feces.
  • Have your pet tested for parasites at least once a year. Give pets year-round preventive medications to control parasites that can be passed from pets to people.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases has more about pets and people.

SOURCE: Companion Animal Parasite Council, news release, February 2007
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