A single Tapeworm egg packet. Photo by Jennifer Miele.
Of all the worm eggs we search for under a microscope, the elusive Tapeworm egg is the most difficult to detect. Not because of its size, mind you – these things are huge compared to other worm eggs. The problem is, there tend to be so darn few Tapeworm eggs, we rarely see them. By contrast, a mild Roundworm or Hookworm infestation can result in a slide saturated with eggs. You are more likely to see Tapeworm segments on your pet’s fur than we are to find eggs in a fecal sample.
In fact, the segments you see on your pet’s fur are called proglottids, and they function as egg sacs. As these pieces detach from the larger worm still inside your pet (yuck), they may start releasing their eggs, which then appear (microscopically speaking) in your pet’s stool. Because of this, you will often see the proglottids before the vet has a chance to check a stool sample and find the eggs.
Recently, though, we got lucky. A pet presented with an infestation of Tapeworms, which provided me the opportunity to photograph the egg packet shown above. Below, you will see something even more rare.
Five Tapeworm eggs as viewed through a microscope. Photo by Jennifer Miele
Okay, I admit it’s pretty silly to get excited over something so gross. In fact, I hope you’re not eating lunch or dinner as you read this. After the worming we gave, these little guys won’t be eating lunch or dinner, either. Meanwhile, we seldom see so many egg packets together in one frame, which is why I consider this slide “rare.”
The fun didn’t end there, however. Once the sample had time to float all eggs to the surface, we found a couple of these guys trying to sneak by:
Mystery slide. Photo by Jennifer Miele
What’s that? A little hard to see, compared to the Tapeworm eggs? This little dude is shown at the same magnification as his giant neighbors. To make it easy on you, I’ll crop it and show you what we’re looking at.
Hookworm egg. Photo by Jennifer Miele
It’s a Hookworm egg. How adorable. I found only a couple of these eggs on the slide. All I can figure is that the Tapeworms had a head start and were beating up on the hapless Hookworms that showed up late to dinner.
Imagine the Worm Wars taking place inside your pet. Not a pretty picture, is it? If your pet is not already on a monthly heartworm/intestinal worm preventative medication, now is the time to act. Have your dog’s blood tested first; it should be free of heartworm disease before starting any of the preventatives. Cats and dogs should have their stool tested for intestinal worms, as well. Any adult worm infestations should be treated by the vet.
Check out our favorite heartworm and intestinal worm preventative medications:
Revolution for Cats……….treats and prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, fleas, ear mites
Iverhart Plus for Dogs……treats and prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms
Iverhart Max for Dogs……treats and prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms
HeartGard Plus for Dogs……treats and prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms
Sentinel for Dogs…….treats and prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, fleas
Questions? Call Jennifer at 583-2619. Happy worming!
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