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It is more important to worm pregnant or nursing bitches and especially young puppies which are more likely to be handled by young children. Adult dogs should be wormed every three months to prevent infection. Puppies should be wormed from the age of two weeks, every two weeks, until the age of 12 weeks. Pregnant and lactating bitches also need frequent worming. Bitches should be wormed before mating, after the first 45 days of pregnancy, after giving birth and whilst weaning pups. As with any treatment, read the product label carefully.
Toxocara canis is the common roundworm of the dog. Toxocara eggs are present in the faeces of dogs which have not been treated with the appropriate tablets. If a person comes into contact with contaminated faeces and infected eggs, there is a possibility of an illness referred to as toxocariasis.
It is very easy to prevent. Worm your dog regularly. If in doubt, consult your veterinary surgeon. Always clean up your dogs faeces and dispose of it. Wash your hands after petting, feeding or cleaning up after your dog. Train your dog at an early stage to 'go' on command.
It is very rare. There are approximately two cases due to infection per million people each year. On the rare occasions when human infection occurs, it usually causes mild, flu like symptoms. Toxocara antibodies are present in fewer than 2 in 100 healthy adults in the UK who have previously been exposed to infection with no ill effects.
Total blindness from toxocara infection is exceptional. It is rare even for the sight of one eye to be totally lost, though vision can be impaired.
Freshly passed faeces are not a toxocara hazard. Any eggs in the faeces take two or three weeks to mature and require very specific conditions before becoming infectious.
Most responsible pet owners do worm regularly so there should not be a problem. However, simple hygiene measures should always be advised. For example:
In situations where contamination of soil has occurred some eggs may remain infected for up to three years, so simple hygiene measures should be followed to avoid potential risk.
There is very little risk of toxocara infection. However, you are advised to take your child along to your doctor for advice and any appropriate treatment.
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