Roundworms from dogs and cats are responsible for an infection in people called toxocariasis caused by roundworm eggs in dogs and cats poo being swallowed and can, in rare cases, the roundworm larvae may infect organs such as the liver, lungs, eyes or brain and the symptoms may be severe: fatigue, loss of appetite, breathing problems, and blurred or cloudy vision with a risk of permanent vision loss are possible. However, often there are no symptoms and the parasite dies within a few months but some people may experience mild symptoms such as a cough, headache or stomach pain.
Young children are most at risk as they are more likely to come into contact with contaminated soil and put their hands in their mouths.
Prevention through worming and awareness is key
- Explain to children the health problems that may be caused by puppies, kittens, and dogs and cats.
- The eggs that cause Toxocara can live in soil or sand so poop scoop and bin it.
- Be quick fresh dog and cat poo poses less danger as it takes a few weeks for them to become infectious.
- Keep sandpits covered and pets away.
- Clean and vacuum around your dogs bed and where they hang out.
- Puppies are born with worms- using Panacur liquid for dogs appropriately on a pregnant dog can reduce or eliminate this.
Good hygiene is good prevention
- Educate children to wash their hands after playing with dogs and cats.
- Try to stop children eating dirt and soil.
- Wash food that has been in contact with soil.
- Keep an eye out for dog and cat poo in play areas and remove kids if unacceptable.