Parasites do not always cause external symptoms, making
and monthly preventative measures imperative.
Indian Head Animal Hospital checks for and treats intestinal parasites which may be harmful to your puppy and you. We will generally de-worm your puppy or kitten initially. Repeat fecal exams are often needed to ensure your pet’s health. These parasites can all potentially cause problems in people also. Good hand washing (especially with the kids) will prevent problems! More information on deworming>
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes. It has an incubation period of 6 to 9 months. It is epidemic in our area. The adult heartworm looks like spaghetti and lives in the right ventricle of the heart and the pulmonary arteries.
Dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans
Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease. Heavily infected dogs may eventually show a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. The worms cause inflammation of the blood vessels and can block blood flow leading to pulmonary thrombosis (clots in the lungs) and heart failure. Heartworm disease can also lead to liver or kidney failure causing death.
Heartworm infection is usually detected with a blood test to identify the adult worms. This blood test can be run in the hospital and results are usually available in 10 minutes. Baby larvae (Microfilaria) are identified through a different blood test that can be run at the hospital or sent out to the laboratory.
Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection in dogs, including monthly tablets/chewables, monthly topicals and a six-month injectable product available only for dogs (we do not offer the injectable). All of these methods are extremely effective, and when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be completely prevented. These medications interrupt heartworm development before adult worms reach the lungs or the heart and cause disease.
Only in very rare instances.
Also known as Ascarid worms. These are intestinal worms of dogs and cats. They are round, white, 2 to 4 inches long and resemble spaghetti.
Dogs, cats, humans, and wild animals.
Roundworms can be spread by consuming infective worm eggs from soil, nursing from an infected mother, in utero and by consuming a prey animal (usually rodent) that is carrying developing worms.
Diagnosis is made from a microscopic examination of the feces or from a description of the worm if it is seen in the stool or vomitus.
Transmission to humans is rare. Young children can develop “visceral larval migrans” (the worm travels to different organs causing disease). A unique form of this disease is called “ocular larvalmigrans.” Larvae migrate through the eyes and can cause vision loss or even blindness.
These are intestinal worms of dogs and cats. They are very thin, almost transparent, and ¼ to ½ inch long. The worms are normally not visible to the naked eye.
Dogs, cats, humans, and wild animals.
Hookworms can be spread by consuming worm eggs from soil, nursing from an infected mother, while in utero and by consuming a prey animal (usually rodent) that is carrying developing worms. These eggs can also penetrate through the skin.
This parasite hooks itself to the intestines and sucks the pet’s blood and nutrients. Symptoms include pale gums, weakness, and sometimes black, tarry stools. There may be vomiting and diarrhea. Growth in young animals is stunted, and the hair coat may appear dull and dry.
Diagnosis is made from a microscopic examination of the feces or from a description of the worm if it is seen in the stool.
Hookworms can live several weeks in cool, moist soil, but die rapidly in freezing or hot, dry conditions. All fecal material should be removed, since organic material will decrease the effectiveness of cleaning solutions. A bleach solution of 3 cups of household bleach to a gallon of cool water should be sprayed or mopped on the area. Any feces in yards should be picked up on a daily basis. Flaming the surface soil can kill the eggs. Since mice and other rodents can serve as transport hosts, their control is also important.
Transmission to humans is rare. Hookworms can cause a skin disease in humans called “cutaneouslarvalmigrans” (the worm travels under the skin causing damage). Infections of the intestines in people can also cause a condition called ‘eosinophilic enteritis”, resulting in abdominal pain.
These are intestinal worms of dogs and cats. The front portion of the worm is very thin (the whip) and the posterior end is thick (whip handle). These worms are usually not seen by the naked eye.
Dogs, very rarely cats and humans.
A dog or cat becomes infected by ingesting food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs.
An infection is diagnosed by finding the eggs in the feces. Eggs from this parasite pass intermittently, however, so it may be necessary to check multiple fecals before the diagnosis is made.
Treatment is an oral or topical medication (De-wormer), and the prevention of re-infection. Interceptor (not Heartguard Plus) treats or controls infections with whipworms and is an important addition to a prevention program.
Whipworm eggs are very resistant and can live in soil for years, even resisting freezing. Because of this, animals should be restricted from contaminated areas. There is no effective method for killing whipworm eggs in the soil. The only alternative is to replace the soil with new soil, gravel, and pavement. To prevent exposure, any feces in the yard should be picked up on a daily basis.
Transmission to humans is rare. There have been reports of people being infected with the dog whipworm. However, humans are much more often infected with the human whipworm.
In heavy infections, we may notice abdominal discomfort or nervousness in the animal. The animal may vomit. The active segments around the anal area may cause an animal to lick or ‘scoot’ on the floor.
The diagnosis is made by finding the moving segments or dried segments usually near anal area. The diagnosis can also be made seeing eggs in the feces under the microscope
Treatment is an oral or topical medication (De-wormer). The most important preventive measures are flea controland lice control. Numerous products are on the market which can be used for this purpose. It is recommended to not only treat the animals but also the environment in an attempt to kill as many flea larvae as possible.
Flea controland lice control is the only way to prevent this parasite. Numerous products (Frontline, Promeris, Advantix, Advantage Multi) are on the market which can be used for this purpose. It is recommended to not only treat the animals but also the environment in an attempt to kill as many flea larvae as possible.
Sometimes this parasite will cause no symptoms at all. Often animals will present with diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration and decreased appetite. Severe cases can present with bloody diarrhea.
Treatment varies greatly. Animals showing no symptoms are not treated because the infection is often self-limiting. Pets with diarrhea are treated at home with oral medication.
Involves disposal of all stools and cleaning the pet’s living area. Mature eggs are resistant to most cleaning products and they can survive for months to years in the environment. However, the use of bleach and steam cleaning can be helpful.