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Posts Tagged ‘Roundworms’

Now that Thanksgiving is over, and you’ve finished eating

—  wait — 

you have finished eating, haven’t you?

Good.

We’re going to do some veterinary math.

The picture below illustrates a gaggle of Roundworms.

noodles 1

Roundworms. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic (VA).

How many worms make a gaggle?

Noodles 2

Roundworms. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic (VA).

In this case, seven.

If you feel sick after seeing these pictures,
imagine how your pet would feel if these worms were in its intestines.

The good news:
Roundworms are preventable with a monthly dose of
heartworm / intestinal worm medication,
like HeartGard Plus or Sentinel.

Contact Us to be sure your pet is protected.

 

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FALSE.

Even cats that stay indoors their entire lives are at risk for parasitic infections. Why?

Because mosquitos, which transmit heartworm disease, often sneak into our homes.

Because fleas, which transmit tapeworms, often reside in our homes.

Because flies, which transmit roundworms, often buzz around inside our homes.

And if your cat is anything like mine, it loves to chase, catch, and eat bugs!

These are just some of the reasons your cat’s feces should be checked one to two times a year for parasites.

It’s also why we recommend Revolution for indoor cats. Revolution protects your cat against fleas, heartworms, roundworms, and ear mites.

Click on the graphic below to learn more about cats and parasites — then talk to us about protecting your indoor cat from heartworms, tapeworms, and roundworms.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

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(*Not suitable for dinner.)

…but I just can’t. Knowing what I know about the havoc Roundworms can wreak on pets and people, I have to say this little guy got what was coming to him.

Still…it’s messy.

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Gird your loins, people.

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Okay, laaaaaast warning!

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Click to enlarge, if this size isn't gross enough for you.

YUCK!!! Click to enlarge, if this size isn’t gross enough for you.

 

Bleahhhh! The end of the worm has been chopped off and the guts are spilling out! Did you really need to see that???

Now look at these pictures of Roundworm eggs under magnification:

P1060615

Click to enlarge. Roundworm egg photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Click to enlarge. Roundworm eggs. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Click to enlarge. Roundworm eggs photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Awww…look how peaceful they are…completely unaware of the messy end that awaits them, should they have the misfortune to grow to adulthood. Which they won’t, because we wormed the bajingles out of this puppy.

Veterinarian – 1

Roundworms – 0.

As it should be.

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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 with our Under the ‘Scope series, you know I’ve blogged about Tapeworms, Hookworms, and Roundworms.  (If you haven’t read those posts, click on the links and read them now.) 
     I mentioned in the last post that I’ve been hoping to show you photos of Coccidiae and Whipworms, as well.  As it turns out, we’ve had a recent spate of dogs, both young and old, battling Coccidiae.  This is what we’ve seen under the microscope:

This is what we see at "medium" magnification. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

     Not too helpful, is it?  Coccidiae (that’s the plural of “coccidia”) are among the tiniest parasites we search for in your pet’s fecal sample.  Now look at this photo with some of the coccidia oocysts (spores) labeled for identification:

Click to enlarge and read the labels. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

     Now look at the oocysts under higher magnification:

Two highly magnified coccidia spores. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

     Now look at the coccidia as seen under an electron microscope:

     If you’re thinking that looks an awful lot like a jellyfish at the Virginia Aquarium, you’re right.  I have no idea how that snuck in there.  My apologies to everyone who reads this blog.  Anyway, now you know where I spent my Sunday. 

     Okay, let’s try this again.  Coccidia spore under super-intense hyper-fraznik electron microscope:

EEEEEEEEK! Photo by Jennifer Miele

     All right, all right, I’m messing with you.  Little tiny coccidia spores do not grow up to become sharks.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, if your cat or dog is infected with these protozoan parasites, it may suffer chronic or intermittent diarrhea.  Left untreated, the infection may progress to the point that your pet has bloody stools, vomiting, and loss of appetite.  In rare cases, death may occur.

     Treatment for coccidiosis (the disease cause by the coccidia infection) is effective and uncomplicated, provided the illness has not progressed to a serious level.

     Coccidia species tend to stick to dogs and cats as their hosts.  A notable exception is Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis in humans.  Many women are familiar with this disease, as it is to be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. 
     Toxoplasmosis can be contracted by handling cat fecal matter or contaminated litter.  For this reason, a pregnant woman should ask someone else to clean the cat’s litterbox, or she should wear thick gloves and wash well after the task is completed.

     There is no preventative product on the market for coccidiosis.  Your pet should remain on its heartworm/intestinal worm preventative year-round, even though it will not protect against protozoan parasites. 
     Be vigilant in noticing whether your pet’s bathroom habits have changed.  If you suspect a parasite infection, notify our clinic so that we may examine a specimen under the microscope.  Who knows?  Your pet’s parasites could be the next ones featured on Under the ‘Scope!  ~~  Jen

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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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