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Posts Tagged ‘pet parasites’

Dr. Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian and owner of Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, attended a lecture on the role of veterinarians in emergencies and natural disaster response.

He learned that the major challenges pets face after a widespread disaster (such as hurricane, flood, tornado) are: lack of adequate food and shelter, lack of access to medical care, the increased rate of infectious diseases, and the exacerbation of existing disease.

Disaster clean-up and recovery efforts can take a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks to effect change, and often take longer. For those people displaced, life may not return to normal for 4 to 6 months, according to Dr. Jenifer Chatfield, an expert on emergency response. What will happen to chronically ill pets during those 4 to 6 months? More on that, later.

In an emergency, veterinarians may volunteer to assist with recovery efforts in their community, or they may work to re-open their medical practice as soon as possible, to provide for pets’ healthcare needs. At the community level, human needs for food, clean drinking water, shelter, and medical care are met first. Then care can be extended to pets. Knowing that a hierarchy of assistance exists will help you make better disaster planning decisions.
Challenges for Pets During Disasters
*Infectious diseases may spread more rapidly.
-Leptospirosis is contracted through contaminated water and displaced wildlife
-Rabies is spread through displaced wildlife, which comes into more frequent contact with homeless pets
-Distemper, Influenza, and Parvovirus spread among pets kept in close quarters, such as at shelters
*Parasites increase in number
-Fleas, gastrointestinal parasites, and heartworms spread more easily when pets do not receive their regular doses of preventative
*Existing, chronic diseases are left untreated and worsen
-Diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, and more, worsen when drugs and special diets are no longer available to treat them. This can happen when people are trying to get life back on track and pet care may not be given high priority.

Not all disasters can be foreseen, but when you have advance warning, be sure to have a plan in place.

*If you evacuate, where will you go and how soon will you leave?
*If evacuating — whether to a shelter, hotel, or another home — will you be able to bring your pets?

*When preparing supplies, such as food and drinking water, include your pets’ needs in the calculations.
*When severe weather is forecast, find out from your pet’s veterinarian if you can stock up on prescription drugs and diets, to last through several weeks of recovery.
*If evacuating, bring your pet’s flea and heartworm preventatives.
*Be certain that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, or schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to bring all vaccines and preventative treatments current.

More information
Learn about Norfolk’s emergency shelter for pets and people here.
Get a helpful planning guide from Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.
Get facts on infectious diseases for dogs and cats, including Rabies.

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We’ve seen a spate of Hookworm cases lately, which afforded me the opportunity to capture the following photos of actual worms, rather than just eggs.
A pup was brought in to see us after vomiting the worms, which is pretty unusual. But what I caught on (digital) film proves the nature of these nasties. Check it out.
(Note: all photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Hookworm eggs in vomitus.

Hookworm eggs in vomitus.

Hookworms A and B on a microscope slide.

Hookworms A and B on a microscope slide.

Hookworm "A" under magnification.

Hookworm A under magnification.

Section of Hookworm A under magnification.

Section of Hookworm A under magnification.

Hookworm A, with a bubble in its mouth, shows off its hooks. They latch onto your pet's intestinal walls.

Hookworm A, with a bubble in its mouth, shows off its hooks. They latch onto your pet’s intestinal walls.

Detail of the guts of Hookworm B.

Detail of the guts of Hookworm B.

Check out the fangs on this guy! Hookworm B looks ready for lunch.

Check out the fangs on this guy! Hookworm B looks ready for lunch.

Tech note: The appearance of the hooks identifies these worms as Ancylostoma caninum.

To learn about Hookworm infection in people, click here.

To learn more about Hookworm in pets, click here.

All photos by Jennifer Miele, at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

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