Pets Can Give Us More Than Love

Sometimes our pets can give us more than affection. Studies confirm that intestinal parasites in pets—some that may transmit disease to humans—continue to be a serious issue nationwide.

Some intestinal parasites such as roundworms can be transmitted from unprotected dogs and cats to humans, often with devastating effect. According to the CDC, more than 10,000 Americans—mostly young children—are diagnosed annually with roundworm infection, a completely preventable disease. For example, one roundworm infection known as ocular larva migrans (OLM) causes partial permanent loss of vision or blindness in more than 700 Americans each year.

Surprisingly, a study conducted by Novartis Animal Health in 11 western U.S. states, where climate and other conditions are not generally thought to encourage parasites, found a prevalence of heartworm and intestinal parasites.

Several leading parasitologists believe that increased mobility—unprotected pets traveling with their families—and a growing, disease-harboring coyote population, are likely sources of heartworm and intestinal parasite transmission.

Data from the American Animal Hospital Association shows that most pet owners are only giving their dogs heartworm preventives for five months out of the year—a serious implication for their health. Cats, too, are at risk and may even be less protected than dogs.

Fortunately, protecting your pets against heartworm disease and other parasites, including whipworms, can be easier than you think. Ask your veterinarian about effective and convenient oral products that you can give your dog or cat every month, year round, to prevent these diseases in pets and people.

For more information on protecting your pets’ and family’s health by preventing parasites, visit