Posts Tagged ‘Hookworms in dogs’

     Most pet owners are familiar with the decidedly unglamorous chore of collecting their pet’s stool sample at the request of their veterinarian.  It is not uncommon for the squeamish to try to find a loophole that will allow them to sidestep such an onerous (not to mention odiferous) task.  I can’t say I blame them.  But of all the excuses one could use, this one is the least effective:  “I check my pet’s stool every day and I never see any worms.”

     My typical response is:  “Of all the parasites your pet can have, you may only ever see the adult versions of Tapeworms and Roundworms.  But you won’t see Hookworms, Whipworms, Giardia, or Coccidia, which are shed in microscopic egg form.” 

     The only way for us to discover a microscopic parasite, of course, is to examine the stool under a microscope.  And trust me, it is equally glamorous – if not more so – than your job of collecting, bagging, and transporting the sample. 

     A few weeks ago, I blogged about The Holy Grail of Microscope Slides, i.e. Tapeworm eggs.  I mentioned that Tapeworm eggs are a rarity on fecal exams, as compared to Roundworms and Hookworms.  I then posted a photo of a single lonely, lost little Hookworm egg from the same sample and noted how unusual it was that the Tapes outnumbered the Hooks.

     Today, I am pleased to present you with a photograph of a more typical sight.  Behold:

Hookworm eggs from a dog that is not on a heartworm/intestinal worm preventative.

     That’s a lot of Hookworm eggs for an adult dog.  However, if this were a puppy’s sample, the entire slide would be covered by those eggs.  Stop eating your dinner and think about that for a minute.

     Hookworms attach to your pet’s intestinal walls with – what else? – hooks in their disgusting little mouths.  A Hookworm infestation can lead to severe blood loss (fatal in untreated pups and kittens), bloody diarrhea, anemia and dehydration.  And if that weren’t bad enough, Hookworms are a zoonotic parasite, meaning people can get them, too.

     Dr. Miele has long been a proponent of year-round heartworm/intestinal worm preventative medication.  Why?  The proof is in the stool sample.  It is cold outside, but not cold enough to freeze the parasites.  The Hookworm eggs shown above were photographed at our office on February 4th.  

     Heartworm preventative medications are proven safe for year-round use.  When given as directed, the medications serve to protect your pets and your family from dangerous parasites.  As always, your dog must have a blood test to rule out active heartworm infestation before beginning a preventative medication.  ~~  Jen

     Just For Fun
     What do you think these round things might be?  Click the photo to enlarge and take your best guess.  I’ll post the answer in the comments sections tomorrow.

Click on photo to enlarge

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