Many pet owners ask their veterinary professionals, “Can humans get worms from dogs?” The answer is yes — we can absolutely get intestinal parasites from our dogs or cats.
Roundworm infection in people is not as uncommon as you might think. When people have a roundworm problem, they tend to keep it quiet. When you catch up with a friend, you always ask, “What’s new?” right?
While shaking your hand, has anyone ever cheerfully informed you, “I have roundworms! How are you?” Mmm hmm… You’d be making a beeline for the nearest sink or hand sanitizer if that ever happened.
In this article, we’ll look at three common parasites: roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
It Starts With a Dog’s Butt
Roundworm eggs are shed constantly by the infected dog (or, most commonly, puppy). If he licks his butt and then licks you, the contamination begins. When you touch your mouth, you allow the eggs (unseen by your eyes) to enter your body. You or your children can also pick them up from infected dog poop in the backyard. Once they get in, they make their way into your intestines and grow — big time.
“Can humans get worms from dogs? Yup, and it starts with butt lick.” – Click to Tweet
Occasionally, the worms will form a ball within the body and cause an intestinal blockage. This is when roundworms (Toxocara canis) stop being a minor issue and become a major problem. Usually, the person will notice the long, spaghetti-like parasites in their stools. (Yech!)
They’re pretty nasty, gross and definitely scary. Your doctor will prescribe roundworm medicine that will clear up the problem. If the worms ball up and create a blockage, surgery is often required to “unblock and remove” the worms. Oral treatment will need to follow that operation.
On the next page: Hookworms and tapeworms…
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