Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Aquarium’

     How will you celebrate our nation’s independence?  Try these ideas:

  • Get Lost! Be aMAZEd! at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
  • Visit the Virginia Zoo’s new Asia – Trail of the Tiger.  Be sure to bring your camera!
  • Go kayaking at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield.
  • Tour the James River Plantations in Charles City County – the heart of Virginia’s history.
  • Join the crowds at Busch Gardens.  Hint:  Get a Fun Card and return all summer.
  • If the Fourth is blazing hot as usual, skip Busch Gardens and head straight to its sister park Water Country USA.
  • Check out the super-awesome laser show at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.
  • Take a Dolphin-Watching Boat Trip arranged by the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach.
  • Stay cool at one of them newfangled moving picture shows during the day.
  • Give Nauticus some love.  Come on, folks – they’ve got some cool stuff there now.  Plus, you know, an ENTIRE BATTLESHIP!!!
  • Think outside the Seven Cities — our nation’s capital is only three and a half hours from here (twelve hours if you’re going by I-64.  Ha ha.  No, really.  It’s horrible.)  Perhaps Nicolas Cage will meet you there to help steal the Declaration of Independence.
  • Philadelphia is five hours from here via the Eastern Shore.  The Declaration is in DC, but Philly has the Liberty Bell.  And cheesesteaks.  And the Rocky Statue.  I can’t believe you require more than that.
  • Choose one of these historic sites and settle in for an epic fireworks display:  Mount Vernon, Yorktown, Williamsburg.


     You could stay home, cook hotdogs on the grill, indulge in potato salad, swim in your neighbor’s pool (when he’s not looking), and hug your dog when the fireworks make him nervous.

     How ever you choose to celebrate – have fun, stay safe, and take plenty of pictures.  ~~  Jen
     Did I leave out any great ideas?  Let me know what you think is the coolest way to spend the Fourth of July in Hampton Roads.  Write about it in the comments section.

[Please note that I have not determined that each and every location mentioned will be open on July 4th or that all programs will be available.  Always check before hitting the road!]
Graphic art courtesy of Web Weaver.

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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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