Think your indoor pet is safe from parasites? Think Again!
As many of you know, I am one that prefers the comfort of the indoors. However, that doesn’t mean I’m lax on my parasite prevention and awareness. There are many indoor sources of both external and internal parasites and I want to make sure all my friends are aware of these risks so they can protect their pets as well. Insects: We animals love stalking and hunting those creepy crawlies, but that provides its own set of risks. Did you know that cockroaches can be infected and pass both roundworms and hookworms?! Flies also carry and spread roundworms when we catch the delicious pests. There has even been some early evidence the stink bugs may carry giardia. Like we needed another reason to hate these guys! Mice: Outdoor cats have long known this fact, but the same hold true for us indoor hunters. Eating mice puts animals at risk for tapeworm and roundworm infections as well as they can carry fleas and ticks. Mosquitos: These bloodsuckers carry their own unique risk to my animal friends. Mosquitos carry a very dangerous parasite called heartworm disease which can be fatal, especially in cats. More than 25% of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease, were considered indoor only by their people parents! We’re not safe anywhere! Potting Soil: Did you know that 15% of commercial potting soil is contaminated with roundworm eggs?! Gross! Carriers: Like it or not, you are also a source of parasites for us. Not directly of course, but fleas and ticks can hitch a ride on your clothes. Fleas and ticks prefer our warmer body temperatures; so given a choice, they will leave you and attack us instead. And don’t forget, you can track dirt in from your shoes. 20% of the soil around here is contaminated with roundworm and hookworm eggs. These eggs are microscopic so you would never even know they were there. And lastly, if you have other pets that do go outside, they bring things inside to us also such as fleas and intestinal parasites. To add insult to injury, some pests even carry other pests. Fleas are a main source of one type or tapeworm. When we ingest them trying to get them off of us, we can become infected with tapeworms. Now that’s just plain rude! For more info on these parasites, visit www.capcvet.org.