PARASITE CONTROL

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Now that the snow has melted and the temperature has risen I have the itch to spend weekends outdoors. Despite living in Massachusetts my whole life I have never developed a love for winter like some people have. I certainly enjoy an occasional day watching the snow fall from the comfort of my couch, but after that first big snowfall I’m ready for the sun again.

Pet Dog Droppings on the LawnUnfortunately, this year we made a big mistake... sometime in the full swing of winter we decided we would just “wait until the snow melts to pick up the dog poop”.... UGH!

Flash forward to yesterday afternoon and my husband and I are strategically combing through the yard in a grid pattern to try and throw away all the dog poop so our kids can spend Easter outside. We feel like military bomb sweepers... I’m barking orders to AJ to hold the line because he keeps straying from the pattern in my head.

It took 3 hours. THREE HOURS! Every year we tell ourselves we won’t let this happen again and that next winter we’ll pick up the poop throughout the year. We never do. But we should.

Now for the boring medical stuff... you knew it was coming. If your dog has intestinal parasites these are passed out the “exit ramp” with their poop. Monthly heartworm prevention also protects against certain intestinal parasites and so if you are good about giving it once a month (and you should be) you do have a little bit of a buffer against this.

HOWEVER there is no heartworm preventative that protects against ALL intestinal parasites. This means that if you (like me) are lazy about scooping poop, you could be allowing intestinal parasite eggs to contaminate your yard. Some of these parasites, like giardia and hookworm, can be transmitted to humans. Transmission can occur if you get contaminated stool in your mouth. Gross – I know.

You may be saying to yourself, “This lady is crazy, i certainly don’t eat my dog’s poop!” To which I say, “Great decision!” BUT kids (especially toddlers) dont always have the same caution.

My husband and I made the mistake of performing some of our land mine sweeping activities with our two year old son in view of us. The next thing we know he has his own little blue shovel in his right hand while he is picking up dog poop with his LEFT hand. I should know better than this.

Moral of the story... pick up your dog’s poop right after they go (especially if you have kids) and keep your dog up to date on their monthly heartworm prevention. AND don’t assume your two year old is wise enough to understand we only touch poops with shovels... LESSON LEARNED...

Dr. Melissa Bisesi joined the Ashland Animal Hospital team in November 2015. Her medical interests include diagnostic imaging (abdominal ultrasound), nutrition, and formulating patient-specific weight management plans. Visit Our Veterinarians page to learn about Dr. Bisesi and our other veterinarians.