If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say they don’t have to worry about fleas or parasites affecting their pet because their pet lives indoors, I’d be able to retire somewhere on the Cape.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a dime for every time I’ve heard that, I don’t live on the Cape, and getting to the heart of the matter, the myth above is just that, a myth. It is not true. The facts are this:

  1. Indoor dogs, cats, other critters can still get fleas. Fleas like to hitch a ride on socks, pant cuffs, other furry critters and get inside the house that way… Once they find that host to feed on, your house will be a house of fleas.
  2. Indoor dogs, cats and other critters can still intestinal parasites as well. Intestinal parasites shed eggs into the feces of dogs and cats. Long after the feces has dissolved, those microscopic eggs (can’t be seen with the naked eye), are still in the environment… Those eggs get carried in on the soles of shoes, paw pads, etc. Inside, they can also be found in potted plant soil and the litterbox.

So, why should we care about these parasites? These parasites are carriers of diseases that not only affect our cats and dogs but affect us as well. For instance, the following diseases that can affect humans are carried by fleas or intestinal parasites:

  • Bubonic plague – fleas help to spread this.
  • Bartonella – fleas carry this as well
  • Tapeworms – can be spread by fleas and then by intestinal eggs
  • Brain/eye abscess – can be spread by roundworm microscopic eggs

So, although it would be nice to think by keeping things inside we can lock out all these parasites, the reality is we can’t and the consequences can be dire to our pets or, ourselves. To learn more about the zoonotic effects of parasites, stop by the clinic to pick up some brochures.