There are many species of roundworm, but they all have one thing in common. Once they get into the digestive tract of their animal or human host, these worms attach to intestinal walls and begin drawing nutrients. Passed primarily through contact with faeces or contaminated soil, roundworms can be prevented by proper hygiene and disinfection of areas such as litter boxes, feeding areas and other areas where infected animals congregate.
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Things you need
- Disposable latex gloves
- Sealable plastic bags
- Glass pet food dishes
- Steam cleaner
- Vacuum cleaner
- Disinfecting hand soap
- Pressure washer
Clean and disinfect litter boxes and scoops once a week in hot, soapy water. Put on a pair of disposable latex gloves before handling or scooping cat or dog faeces. Dispose of gloves and animal faeces in sealable plastic bags
Use glass dishes to feed your pets. Plastic is porous and can harbour worm eggs, while glass is nonporous and can tolerate sterilising heat. Keep pet dishes clean, but wash them in hot water and detergent separately from the dishes you use yourself.
Wash and disinfect indoor areas where pets like to sit, sleep, eat or play. This includes tile and wood floor, area rugs, wall to wall carpeting, window sills, and chairs and sofas. Anything that can tolerate steam cleaning should be given that treatment. Read labels and test small areas first. Wash hand towels and bedding in hot water and detergent, and dry on high heat. Throw out and replace pet bedding.
Avoid contact with wild animals, especially raccoons, chipmunks and squirrels. These animals are carriers of roundworms and distribute eggs throughout yards in their faeces. Keep all pet food indoors, and cover garbage securely to keep raccoons and rodents off your property.
If you do find raccoon "latrines" on your property, shovel the piles of droppings into sealable plastic bags, and pressure wash the area with scalding hot water.
Tips and warnings
- If your pet is coughing, lethargic and pot-bellied, take it to the vet immediately and disinfect your house. These are signs of roundworm infestation.
- Some roundworms enter human hosts through the skin, not the mouth. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling pets, litter boxes and outdoor soil, even if you've been wearing latex gloves.
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