We recently got a puppy and at our first visit to the vet, we
found out he has roundworms.
Q: We recently got a puppy and at our first visit to the vet, we found out he has roundworms. We have two children, ages 4 and 7. My concern is for my children’s health. They don’t clean up after the dog, I do, but they did get licked on their face and hands. Kids being kids, I am sure they touch every part of their faces afterwards at some point, should I be concerned with transmission?
I asked our family physician about roundworms and she told us that she’d never seen a case in humans and said we shouldn’t worry.
I had several readers write me about roundworms (also called ascarids). Each had concerns about their children’s risk for infection. And each told me that their doctor had told them not to be concerned about this parasitic disease. One doctor’s office said they didn’t think that transmission from a puppy to a child was possible. They said in all their years they had never treated a child for this problem.
But medical studies refute this opinion. Roundworm infections aren’t very common, but they do occur and children are at risk. Medical reports show that some kids that are infected may not show initial symptoms. But later they can develop serious health problems, including kidney disease, blindness and spinal disorders.
The good news is that symptomatic infections like this are infrequent, even in youngsters that have been exposed to the parasite. But the risk is there and shouldn’t be ignored. My recommendation? First, go to the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/ascaris/factsht–ascaris.htm.
I believe that any child exposed to roundworms should be seen by a physician. So I think you should get a second opinion from another doctor who is aware of this disease. A simple test can determine if your child has been exposed to this parasite. And that, alone, is good for some peace of mind.
With all the talk about eliminating tail docking and ear cropping, let’s talk about declawing cats. Shouldn’t there be a law against this barbaric procedure?
Tail docking and ear cropping have been banned in many European countries. And recently, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) stated that it felt the American Kennel Club should discourage these procedures.
“The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.”
There have been mixed reactions to this policy statement, but I believe that most people would like to see an end to these surgeries.
Declawing is another hot topic evoking passionate debate at times. Most agree that it should never be done simply for convenience. And it shouldn’t be done unless it’s absolutely necessary. No one should take this subject lightly. And while many of us understand the concern of opponents, some vets believe that declawing is a necessary procedure in unusual and special circumstances. It should never be considered an option for 99.9 percent of all cats. But it may be a good alternative for that one kitty who is destructive despite all attempts to change his or her behavior. If that cat’s only other alternative is to be surrendered to a shelter, and if his companion (owner) truly loves this cat and doesn’t want to give him up to adoption, declawing is an appropriate option to consider. Here’s why.
Declawing (the surgical removal of the nails) is painful, to be sure. But veterinary medicine has advanced, offering newer medications that can help mitigate this pain. Post surgical pain management can help tremendously for kitties who undergo any surgery. We know we can’t eliminate all the pain. But the discomfort from surgery is minimized when proper medications are administered.
Some cat owners never considered any of the “risks” of having a feline in their house. They never thought about all that could happen if a cat lived with them. Kitties can be destructive. Just the other day, I found one of my dress shirts damaged – make that destroyed – by Georgie, one of our house kitties. I left it on a chair and she decided to tear it up. I know that this is just part of the “package deal” with my kitty-cats. She’s a handful, to say the least. But I should have had that shirt in the closet, out of harm’s way. I won’t make that mistake again.
On the other hand, our kitties have been taught to refrain from digging into the couch or chairs. I can tolerate losing a shirt. But the couch is off-limits. And Rumpy, Janey and Georgie know it. It took a while, and a loud voice, a squirt bottle full of water and a few other tricks now and then. But our furniture is safe.
There are so many ways to teach kitties good behavior. And most cats can be taught right from wrong. But once in a while I hear from someone whose feline friend continues to be destructive. At the end of their rope, these people are ready to give up. They’ve persistently tried to teach their kitty to stop its destructive behavior. And if that cat hasn’t cooperated even after many attempts, then I believe the declaw procedure is something they need to discuss. After all, if that cat is otherwise doomed to be abandoned, surgery may be a reasonable, albeit unwanted option.