Posts Tagged ‘Tapeworms’

     As promised, I have begun a new Flea Farm, this time recording video of live flea larvae. Those little guys move fast! In fact, the video looks sped-up, but I promise not to have doctored the tape (not that I would know how to.)

Teaser photo to get you in the mood:

     To see the new live-action flea larvae shots, follow these links to our YouTube channel.

Shy flea larvae

Flea larvae – speedy little suckers!

Active flea larvae on the Flea Farm

     So, am I trying to gross you out with all these videos? A little. Because if your pets have fleas, your house is growing its own Flea Farm, without any assistance from you.

     But you don’t have to let the little bugs take over! Read on for tips and products to help you win the war on fleas (plus a fun article that will have you rooting for them in the next Olympics.)

Shortcuts to articles on fleas and flea control

Prevent flea product failure

A flea jumps how high?

Advantage special offer

Revolution special offer

Adams Flea & Tick Mist

Flea comb

Fleabusters Powder for the house

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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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It’s amazing the fun I can have with a plastic bag, a camera and a microscope.

   On June 23rd, I scooped some flea eggs and flea dirt (for fuel) into a plastic ziploc bag. Periodically, I checked the bag and photographed the contents as the eggs hatched, larvae squiggled around, and a couple of industrious flea wannabes worked their way toward adulthood.

   Disappointed that I hadn’t thought to film the live larvae wiggling and squiggling, I’ve set up a new Flea Farm in a bag – this time with dozens of eggs. Gross, right? I’ll post those results as they become available. In the meantime, check out these photos of the normally unseen world of fleas. 

Flea eggs (on black paper)

Flea eggs on paper; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Flea eggs (magnified; with “flea dirt”)

Magnified flea eggs and flea dirt; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Isolated flea egg (magnified; with “flea dirt”)

Flea egg; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Flea excrement (dried blood from the host animal; also known as “flea dirt”) This will be consumed by flea larvae for fuel

Flea dirt, often the first sign of a flea infestation; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Flea larva (magnified)

Look closely to see the hairs along the larva’s body; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Flea pupa in cocoon [left] and larva [right] (magnified)

Flea pupa safe in its cocoon, with larva and flea dirt; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Immature flea (magnified) This little guy almost made it!

Immature flea, just out of its cocoon; photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic


Coming up on Tuesday, July 24th – I will post video on our Facebook page of live, squirming Tapeworm segments called proglottids. You’ll even get to see a proglottid belching out its eggs!
Caution: do not watch before a meal!

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Click to enlarge

Just in time for flea season, Bayer has announced its “Buy a 4-Pack, Get a Free Tube”* special offer on Advantage. We have the coupons at our office – so no need for you to go searching for them online or anywhere else.

*Free product must match purchased product type.

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     Reminder:  Our clinic will be open both Saturday, December 31st and Monday, January 2nd.  We are scheduling appointments both days and will be happy to see you and your pet on either day.

     Also, Saturday this week is absolutely the last day to get a free tube of Advantage when you buy a 4-pack.  Bayer has not extended the special into the New Year, so now is the time to stock up.

     And in case you were wondering – yes!  We are still seeing fleas and tapeworms.  Those nasty little dudes are out in force.  Make sure your pet is protected.

     Enjoying the 60 – 70° days we’ve been having?  The mosquitoes are, too — so don’t forget the heartworm preventative.

     Make sure your pets have a healthy start to
the New Year.

Image courtesy of Vintage Holiday Crafts.

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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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