Could Your Pet Give You Worms?

November 20, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Parasites in Cats and Dogs Can Harm Humans Too.

pets_parasitesAs much as you may love your pet, don’t kiss it—unless you want parasites. Your cat or dog is also a likely source of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria and other antibiotic-resistant “super bugs.”

Americans currently own over 163 million cats and dogs, according to the Humane Society. That puts a lot of people at risk for worms and unwanted pathogens.

The most common parasites that pets pass on to their owners are toxocara (roundworm) and toxoplasma. In addition, fleas from cats and dogs can spread tapeworms to humans.

A 2005 study found more than one-quarter of soil samples in Connecticut playgrounds were contaminated with toxocara. Children are especially vulnerable to roundworms, which can lead to fever, lung damage (including asthma), vision loss, and even seizures.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection spread by eating undercooked meat or from cysts shed by cats. Up to 80 percent of domestic cats have this parasite—without showing any symptoms.

What symptoms do appear in humans resemble mononucleosis and lymphatic disorders. Most vulnerable are pregnant women, anyone with compromised immunity, and those with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

If you’re pregnant or immune-compromised, have someone else empty the cat litter. If you have pets, wash your hands (long enough to sing “Happy Birthday”) after contact with them or any exposure to soil—whether at the playground or in your own yard.

Cover home sandboxes to prevent fecal contamination, and teach your kids never to put dirt in their mouths. Pick up dog and cat waste daily, especially where children and animals play.

Use antimicrobial shampoo regularly on your pets. One study finds that cat owners are eight times more likely to have MRSA in their homes, as this super bug bounces back and forth between humans and animals.

Pet owners with chronic skin problems—particularly recurrent itching—should have their animals—and themselves—checked for worms. In humans, though, it may take several tests to discover parasites. For more on worms in humans, read my groundbreaking book Guess What Came To Dinner? Parasites and Your Health.

The Centers for Disease Control finds that uncooked meat is as big a risk for parasites as kissing new kittens. Always use a meat thermometer and be sure to wash your hands and all utensils thoroughly after touching raw fish, meat, or poultry.

If (despite careful hygiene) you discover you have parasites, cleansing the intestinal tract is the best treatment. My Colon Cleansing Kit contains everything you need to eliminate worms, as well as other microorganisms and yeasts. Children who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds can take half the adult dosage in the Para-Key and Verma-Plus components for effective results.

The Flora-Key component follows cleansing with a highly absorbable probiotic formula to help strengthen the immune system by providing beneficial bacteria that crowd out pathogens. Besides a variety of probiotic strains, Flora-Key contains Microflora Growth Concentrate FOS that feeds good bacteria.



Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Susie

    Hi Anne,

    I was wondering if you would be able to shed any
    light on a skin condition called Granuloma Annulare. I have had this for over 10 years and
    would love to know what causes it.

    If you have any suggestions I would be most


    P.S. I find your articles very informative and
    look forward to reading them. (Many Thanks)

  2. Liz Beck

    I’ve found “Guess What Came to Dinner” to be a wonderful resource. It does talk about Granuloma’s.

  3. Susie

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the info. I will read “Guess What Came
    to Dinner”


  4. maureen

    i purchased the colon cleansing kit but after all the reading i’m still confused as to the order in which i take everything. do i wait until after the para-key and verma-plus are done to start flora-key?

  5. AnnLouiseGittleman

    I would take the Para and Verma formulas for at least two weeks and then integrate Flora Key UNLESS you have very loose bowels 🙂

  6. Jennie

    Can you get worms from walking barefoot in a home (or yard) where cats and dogs live?

  7. Susie

    Hi Everyone,

    Are you able to offer any further information regarding Granuloma Annulare?

    I would like to know more about it if possible.



  8. AnnLouiseGittleman

    People get all kinds of worms or larvae from walking barefoot. With regard to Granuloma Annulare, do you have this?

  9. Susie

    Hi Ann Louise,

    Yes, I do have Granuloma Annulare. I have had
    it for about 15 years and have numerous (dozens) of rings/marks between my elbows and fingers.

    I would appreciate hearing any suggestions or
    advice that you may have in relation to
    Granuloma Annulare.

    Hoping to hear from you.

    With Thanks,


    P.S. I have been taking globe artichoke herbal tablets to help lower my cholesterol and the Granuloma Annulare has faded and reduced somewhat, whereas normally it would be
    very visible, red and extensive.

  10. Mendy Dermady

    -That’s a pretty damn big deal. First of all, I highly doubt the UFC would pay QJ anything near what he gets paid in Pride (which is probably most likely in the healthy 6-digits over a handfull of fights)

  11. Emily

    I am so unbelievably grateful to find this blog.

    I was diagnosed with parasites almost two months ago. I have been on a heavy herbal cleanse combined with very strong essential oils. I have also been seeing a colonhydrotherapist every week. I have passed (and continue to pass) worms of all sizes. I am somewhat worried that I still have all of the symptoms of these critters. Today is a full moon and the pinching and pain is very difficult.

    I am going to take a medication from my traditional MD (which I am normally against) because I need to do whatever it takes to get rid of these things.

    Is there anything else I can be doing??? I am a brokerage director and work in sales for a brokerage firm. My JOB is to entertain and take people out for meals etc.!! How do I get through this?

  12. Emily

    P.S.- I have never been outside of the country and I do not own a pet. This is so unbelievably mis and underdiagnosed.


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