Have Your Pet and Your Family's Health, Too Petsandparasites.org Offers Information and Prevention Tips on Parasitic Diseases Cats and Dogs Transmit to Humans

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Families can keep their children and pets safe from parasites by reviewing the just-launched petsandparasites.org. The Web site offers easy to read information and prevention tips on the parasitic diseases cats and dogs transmit to humans.

Did you know that heartworms – an internal parasite found in all 50 states that can hurt or kill your dog or cat – are 100 percent preventable? Or that parasites that might infest your pets pose a potential health risk to your family? Do you know how to keep your animals and family safe?

Find out how and more at http://www.petsandparasites.org, a new Web site developed by a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering human and animal health. Visitors to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) site will learn easy, effective steps, including hygiene advice and other year-round parasite management tips, that they can take to keep their animals and families healthy.

Many parasites – including fleas, ticks, tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and scabies – are zoonotic, meaning animals can transmit them to humans. Children can be especially vulnerable, given their close contact with pets and pet environments. They should not be allowed to play in the dirt in areas such as playgrounds and sandboxes where animals defecate. That being virtually impossible, it's best to prevent parasites in the first place.

"For many pet owners, the Internet is one of the first places they look for information about the well-being of their animals; we designed petsandparasites.org to be one of the most comprehensive Web resources available,” said Michael Paul, DVM, executive director of CAPC. “We want pet owners to understand how important it is to prevent parasites and the corresponding health problems in animals and people."

That's welcome news, given that pet ownership is at an all-time high according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA). The APPMA reports that almost half (more than 41 percent) of all U.S. households own a dog or a cat, translating to a pet population that includes 73 million dogs and 90 million cats. Multiply those numbers by the millions of parasites that pets come into contact with every day, and the numbers are staggering. Every year, hundreds of thousands of animals contract heartworms and other parasites and every year, people are exposed to and infected by parasites capable of doing great harm.

The new CAPC http://www.petsandparasites.org Web site provides general information about 10 of the most common internal and external parasites of dogs and cats. The site, which is divided into “Dog Owner” and “Cat Owner” sections, provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pets, parasites and their effects on human and animal health. Pet owners also can find information about the behavioral changes and other symptoms that indicate their dog or cat may be infected by parasites.

About CAPC

The mission of the CAPC is to foster animal and human health, while preserving the human-animal bond, through recommendations for the diagnosis and year-round management of parasitic infections in dogs and cats. The CAPC is an independent, nonprofit organization established to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. Its membership represents broad expertise in parasitology, internal medicine, public health, veterinary law, private practice and association leadership.

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Christy Borrowman