Can You Get Worms From Your Cat or Dog?

by M.B. Lachlei

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    You love your cat or dog, but you've discovered that your pet has worms and you wonder if you can contract them from it. The answer is a qualified yes, but it requires certain vectors to contract worms from your pets.

    People can contract roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms from pets, though it is very rare. For example, only about 10,000 people in the United States contract roundworms a year.

    Humans are not these worms' usual host, which means that they can play havoc with your health. For example, roundworm infestations can lead to blindness as the roundworm migrates throughout the human host and settles in the eye.

    Many people are convinced that they can get pinworms from their pet. This is simply not true, as pinworms are only transmitted between humans and do not infect pets.

    Most worm infestations come from contaminated meat, fleas or contaminated soil. Roundworm infestations come from eating worm eggs, usually from contaminated dirt; tapeworm infestations usually come from eating contaminated meat or accidentally swallowing a flea.

    Practice good hygiene, washing your hands after handling raw meat or dirt, after you go to the bathroom and before meals. Have your veterinarian check your pets for worms regularly and use flea and tick preventatives.

    References

    • "The Compete Idiot's Guide to Dog Health and Nutrition;" Margaret H. Bonham; 2003.
    • "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook;" James M. Giffin MD and Liisa D. Calson DVM; 2000.
    • Parasite Resources

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    About the Author

    M.B. Lachlei is an award-winning author of more than 30 pet and science-fiction/fantasy books. She is also the publisher of Sky Warrior Books.

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