Posts Tagged ‘dog worms’

Are you wondering whether it’s okay to pause your pet’s intestinal worm protection during the chilly winter months?

Don’t do it! Worms can be found in the cozy, warm intestines of dogs and cats, even during the winter, and their eggs can be deposited into soil where your pet might pick them up. Fleas and houseflies are also carriers of intestinal parasites, like Tapeworms and Roundworms, respectively.

Dr. Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, discovered eggs of Tapeworms, Roundworms, Hookworms, and Whipworms in the stool samples of numerous patients over the past month. Take a look at what we’re finding in cats and dogs this winter:

Click any photo to enlarge for detail.
All photos taken at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic
(Norfolk, VA) under microscope.




If your pet has been off its heartworm / intestinal worm protection this winter, Contact Us to request a parasite screening as the first step to getting your pet protected again.

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     Here they are, folks. If you haven’t seen our Facebook page, you may have missed this. I posted several videos of squirmy, slimy Tapeworm segments (called “proglottids”) wriggling around on paper and under magnification. I even captured a Tapeworm segment spitting out its eggs before giving up the ghost.

A passel of eggs released by a dying Tapeworm proglottid. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

     How did I capture these images on film? With a Panasonic Lumix digital camera, a Swift Ultra-Lite microscope, and lots of patience.

Really, Mr. Lincoln – the company you keep! Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

     If you haven’t seen the racy videos of Tapeworms in action, click the links below to see them on our You Tube channel.

The Loch Ness Monster as seen through a spyglass? Nope. It’s a Tapeworm segment stretching across a microscope slide. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

Live Tapeworm segments

Tapeworm squirm

Tapeworm segment releasing its eggs

Two Tapeworm segments getting cozy while I watch. Ewww. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

     More Tapeworm videos are available on our Facebook page and You Tube channel. (All videos by Jennifer Miele/Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.)

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…is contained in one site: Pets & Parasites, brought to you by the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

Thunderstorms. Loneliness. Bathtime.

Our pets have enough things to worry about — so let’s cross worms, fleas, ticks, and mites off their list.

*Learn about the internal and external parasites most commonly found in dogs and cats and how to prevent them.

*Protect your human family members from parasites.

*See why experts predict a high risk of heartworm disease for pets living in Virginia.

Click to enlarge

*View the Parasite Prevalence Map to see which Virginia counties have a history of tick-borne diseases.

When you’ve finished honing your knowledge of parasite risks and prevention, Contact Us to make sure your pet is protected!

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     Is it wrong to get excited about gross bugs? Not in this business. In fact, searching out the little nasties is part of our job.

     Recently, a cute little pup was presented to us, after having been rescued from straydom in a southern state. The new owner reported that the puppy’s littermate had been examined by another vet who discovered ticks and lice externally and worms internally. That’s a lot of parasites for one puppy to deal with.

     Our client took her pup to a groomer, who did an excellent job of killing and removing the ticks and lice. Next, we examined the puppy and, as expected, also discovered numerous Roundworm eggs in its stool sample:

Roundworm eggs. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Magnified view of Roundworm eggs. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

       Also during this visit, we removed from the puppy’s skin what looked like a tiny brown flake. But the microscope told a much different story:

Legless louse! Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

     The “flake” turned out to be a dead louse that appears to be missing its legs. Let’s all have a moment of silence for the poor dead louse.

*silence*

     I don’t know about you, but I feel better. The good news is that lice tend to be host-specific, meaning that dog lice prefer dogs and not humans. Still, how many of you are going to be feeling itchy for the rest of the day after seeing that photo?

 

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     Many puppies will enter their new homes with extra baggage:  intestinal worms.  Roundworms and Hookworms are not only dangerous for your pets, they can also harm people.

     All new pets, whether young or old, should be examined for intestinal parasites and treated as necessary.  Some pets, especially pups and kittens, may need two or three rounds of medication to rid the body of all worms.

     Protect your family from Roundworms and Hookworms by promptly cleaning up your pet’s feces in the house and in the yard.  Follow these “rules” when housebreaking your pet:

  • Designate one small area of the yard as your pet’s potty spot. 
  • Choose an area that is off-limits for gardening and playing.
  • Do not let the puppy dig, eat grass, or play in the potty spot.
  • Do not walk barefoot in or around the bathroom area.
  • Clean up all feces promptly.  Do not let waste stay in the yard just because it is in the bathroom spot (think of it as akin to flushing the toilet.)
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the potty spot and after any time spent working in the yard.
  • Teach children to wash their hands after playing with the dog or cat.
  • Teach children to avoid putting their hands near their mouth, eyes, or nose when playing with the pet.
  • Do not allow cats or dogs to soil in children’s sandboxes.

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     If you’ve been following along lately, you know I have worms on the brain.  No, not literally, but we’ve seen several wormy dogs lately and that has provided me the opportunity to share with you photos of intestinal worm eggs as seen through our microscope.  First, I shared pictures of the elusive Tapeworm egg, then I followed up with a post on Hookworm eggs.

     I’d hate for the Roundworm bunch to feel left out, and today they don’t have to.  Our microscopic exam of a puppy’s stool sample yielded bunches of Hookworms and a few Roundworms.  I was surprised at how few Rounds we were seeing, especially since the owner had a camera-phone pic of an adult worm that the puppy had passed the night before.  Still, I was able to capture one of the little fellas on “film.”

Roundworm egg outnumbered by Hookworm eggs. Photo by Jennifer Miele

     And a close-up of our subject:

Single Roundworm egg with two Hookworm egg buddies. Photo by Jennifer Miele

     As I mentioned in previous posts on the topic, we do find it significant that both untreated adult dogs and puppies are showing intestinal worm infestation during the winter months.  This means it is not safe to let one’s guard down and discontinue heartworm/intestinal worm preventative medications in the cold-weather.  Visit the Tapeworm post and scroll down to learn about the types of heartworm/intestinal worm preventatives we carry.

     Like Hookworms, Roundworms are zoonotic, meaning they prefer animal hosts but will infect humans when possible.  Children are most likely to become infected because they may play in dirt and sandboxes where animals have relieved themselves.  During play, a child may stick his fingers in his mouth and ingest the worm eggs. 

     Take steps to protect your family: 

  • Sandboxes should be kept covered when not in use so that cats and other animals do not use them as a toilet. 
  • Dogs should be trained to defecate in one area of the yard, which is then off-limits for play by both animals and people and off-limits for gardening. 
  • Children and adults should not walk barefoot through contaminated yards, and gardeners should wear gloves while working. 
  • Remove fecal waste from the yard as soon as it is deposited, and do not use it in compost. 
  • Wash well after handling your cat or dog and after working in the yard, especially before preparing meals. 
  • Clean your pet’s outdoor toys and dishes daily.

     Now, if we’re all very lucky, I will bring you future posts featuring photographs of Whipworm eggs and Coccidiae.  Fingers crossed!   ~~  Jen

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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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