Prevention & Control

Controlling Toxocara infection in dogs and cats will reduce the number of infectious eggs in the environment and reduce the risk of infection for people. Have your veterinarian treat your dogs and cats, especially young animals, regularly for worms. This is especially important if your pets spend time outdoors and may become infected again.

There are several things that you can do around your home to make you and your pets safer, including the following:

  • Clean your pet’s living area at least once a week; every day is better. Feces should be either buried or bagged and disposed of in the trash. Wash your hands after handling pet waste.
  • Do not allow children to play in areas that are soiled with pet or other animal feces and cover sandboxes when not in use to make sure that animals do not get inside and contaminate them.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water after playing with your pets or other animals, after outdoor activities, and before handling food or eating.
  • Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.
  • Teach children that it is dangerous to eat dirt or soil.

More on: Handwashing

Toxocara eggs have a strong protective layer, which allows the eggs to survive in the environment for months or even years under the right conditions. Many common disinfectants are not effective against Toxocara eggs but extreme heat has been shown to kill the eggs. Prompt removal of animal feces can help prevent infection since the eggs require 2 to 4 weeks to become infective once they are passed out of the animal.

Although rare, people can also be infected by eating undercooked or raw meat from an infected animal such as a lamb or rabbit. Meat and offal should always be cooked thoroughlyexternal icon and to appropriate temperatures to prevent illness.

Page last reviewed: September 4, 2019