The first syllable is pronounced zo’, with a long “o”, comes from the Greek word for life and has evolved to mean “animal.” “Nosis” is also Greek and refers to disease. In modern usage zoonosis refers to a disease of animals that is transmissible to people.

(If you get the impression I’m “into” words and study of the English language, you’re right. If you think I’m grieving for the passing of one of the great writers and grammarians of our time, James J. Kilpatrick, author of The Writer’s Art, you’re right again.)

Pet owners often ask this question after a pet is diagnosed with an intestinal worm that can infect people: “What can I treat the yard with to make it safe from intestinal parasites?”

Elbow grease is good if you want to be effective.

Snake oil is good if you have money you just want to throw away. Of course, you could always just send it to me!

Just kidding!

Parasitologists have performed innumerable experiments over decades of time to eliminate hookworm and roundworm infestations from yards contaminated by the eggs and larvae of Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina, Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria caninum, as well as all of their cousins.  (These are not the only zoonotic intestinal parasites of dogs and cats, just some of the more common ones.)

They’ve tried scooping up the stool, then setting fire to the ground underneath. Applying chemicals from lime to lye to hydrochloric acid. Fertilizer. Glass magnifiers that focus the sun’s heat and energy on the spot.

Nothing worked.

A parasitology professor at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine once took calf roundworm eggs, put them in a jar of formaldehyde and left them there for three years. Then he removed them, washed them clean, administered them to an SPF(LINK) calf and they were still viable! Mature roundworms appeared in the calf’s intestines a few weeks later.

So, if your pet is found to be carrying an intestinal parasite that can harm the health of your family or you, follow these simple steps, remembering, there are no shortcuts!

1. Keep your pet’s stool picked up in the yard and/or litter box at LEAST daily, but, preferably, as soon as it is passed.

2. Wash hands thoroughly after handling stool or playing with the pet. This action is especially important when dealing with children, who are likely to forget to wash their hands.

3. Keep appointment(s) for follow-up dewormings and testings according to information on your receipt and given to you by staff members.

4. There is no one dewormer that can eliminate all intestinal worms from pets, therefore, an accurate diagnosis via the test “FECAL FLOTATION” is required for accurate treatment to be instituted.

5. Dewormings MUST come in pairs, because deworming medications can kill ONLY the ADULT parasites. Those worms that are immature at the time of the FIRST deworming will be matured in three (3) weeks, and will be killed by the SECOND deworming.

6. SemiAnnual Examinations and stool tests can reduce the time before infestations of intestinal parasites are found, thus reducing your exposure, your family’s exposure, and the likelihood of your pet suffering weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting and other health complications associated with intestinal parasitism.

7. SOME patients may be candidates for HEARTWORM PREVENTIVES that can also help to prevent Hookworms and Roundworms. It is CRUCIAL that your pet take his heartworm preventive EVERY MONTH, ESPECIALLY if we are depending on the heartworm preventive to help prevent intestinal parasites that can endanger his health as well as the health of people.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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