Toxocara: As Scary as it Sounds?

What is Toxocara and why does it sound so scary? Toxocara is a parasite of dogs and cats that can be passed to humans and then back again. Did you know that almost 14% of the human population in the U.S. is infected with this parasite? That’s S-C-A-R-Y! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Toxocara infection is more widespread and common than we think.

The CDC conducted a study and presented the results in November of 2007. This study shows that this parasite transmission from animals to humans is most common in young children and teens. Although, most cases show little to no symptoms, Toxocara is capable of causing illness and blindness. Even if you don’t own a dog or cat, playing in contaminated areas is a risk factor for children (parks and public areas where a dog may have defecated).

Prevention is the key to minimizing the risks to your children:

  • See your veterinarian regularly for stool sample testing and de-worming, especially kittens & puppies
  • Clean up after your pet, disposing of stool and washing your hands thoroughly
  • Keep your pet’s play areas clean
  • Wash hands after playing with your dog or cat
  • Keep children from playing in areas where pets are known to frequent (dog parks & along sidewalks)
  • Cover sandboxes to keep animals away from children’s play areas
  • Don’t let children eat dirt or sand

For more information, or to ask questions, please call us at 317.257.5334 or 317.726.2711

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