Preventing toxocariasis 

Practising good hygiene can help prevent toxocariasis.

Some of the steps you can take are listed below:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and warm water after handling pets or coming into contact with sand or soil.
  • Teach children to always wash their hands after playing with dogs or cats, after playing outdoors and before eating.
  • Wash food that may have come into contact with soil.
  • Try to avoid letting children play in areas where there's a lot of dog or cat faeces.
  • Teach children that it's dangerous to eat dirt or soil.

Read more information about food safety and how to prevent germs from spreading.

Advice for pet owners

Parents and children should be aware of the dangers associated with puppies, kittens and older dogs and cats.

Many puppies are infested with the roundworm parasites from birth, as a pregnant dog can pass the parasites to her puppies before they're born.

All dogs and cats require regular de-worming with anti-worm medicine. See your vet for regular check-ups and for specific advice on how to treat your pet.

The parasite eggs responsible for toxocariasis can survive for many months in sand or soil, so all pet faeces should be collected and disposed of in the garbage. There's no immediate danger from fresh faeces, as the eggs only become infectious after a few weeks.

Pets should be kept away from children's sandpits, which should be covered when not in use.

Your pet's living area should be cleaned at least once a week.

Some areas within public parks in the UK have been set aside as designated dog exercise areas. Dog owners should ensure that their dogs use these areas to minimise the risk of other park users getting toxocariasis.

Page last reviewed: 10/06/2015

Next review due: 01/06/2018