Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What's the deal with worms?

What's the deal with worms?
Picking up your animals' feces is often not a pleasant task, but did you know that there could be friends hiding out within?

Roundworms 
This parasite is very common in puppies and kittens, they are infected while in the uterus as well as when they ingest milk. Adult worms look like spaghetti. Symptoms are a potbellied appearance in puppies. This parasite also has the potential to be zoonotic. Visceral larval migrans occurs in humans that accidentally ingest roundworm eggs. The larvae migrate to liver, lungs, brain, and most commonly the eyes.
Hookworms
Animals are infected by ingesting eggs or directly by worm penetrating through skin. These parasites live in the small intestine and feed on blood with teeth and cutting plates. It can be fatal due to loss of blood. Symptoms include bloody stool, pale gums, and anemia but only in cases of heavy infections. This parasite also has the potential to be zoonotic. Cutaneous larval migrans occurs in humans when larvae penetrate feet when walking barefoot typically in grass and sand. The larvae migrate producing winding tracks of inflammation and is very itchy
Whipworm
Can be hard to diagnose because worms do not shed large amount of eggs in feces. This is most common in dogs kept in small lots or on chains. The most common symptom is diarrhea with mucus and blood.
Tapeworms 
Dogs and cats get tapeworms from fleas and also if the animal hunts rodents. Sometimes the  tapeworm segments (prolgottids) can be seen around the anus and look like rice grains. 
Giardia
This is a protozoa not a worm that likes to inhabit water. Pets are infected when sniffing or eating cysts or drinking contaminated water. The most common symptom is chronic diarrhea. This is also zoonotic and causes humans to have diarrhea and terrible stomach cramps. 
Annual fecal tests are important to screen our pets to be certain that your pets are not affected by any of these parasites. Even if your pet does not go outside,parasites can be brought into the house on our feet or by other pets. Monthly heartworm prevention will protect dogs from roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections depending on the product 

Written By: Dr. Kat Baker
Hyde Park Animal Hospital & Clinic

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