Connersville Veterinary Clinic

808 East County Road 250S
Connersville, IN 47331

(765)825-9620

connersvillevetclinic.com

Parasites

There are 2 "types" of parasites that your pet can have.

Internal Parasites


Hookworm


- Hookworms live in the small intestine of their host. They hang on the the intestinal wall using 6 sharp teeth. While other worms (internal parasites) share the hosts food by absorbing through skin, Hookworms feed by drinking the host's blood.  Hookworm larva can infect its new host in several ways.
- Hookworm can penetrate the host's skin through the feet, belly, really whatever skin is touching the ground.
- Hookworms can be licked or swallowed by the host as it cleans itself.
- Contaminated dirt or by eating an infected animal.


Roundworm

- Roundworms live in your pets intestines.  They consume their food and can make your pet have a "pot-bellied" appearance.  They are also one of the most common causes of diarrhea in your pet.  As they migrate they can also cause vomiting in your pet.  It can be scary when your pet  vomits up a roundworm because females can reach lengths of up to seven inches.
- Heavy infections can lead to pneumonia as the worms migrate to the lungs.  If there are enough worms, the intestine can become obstructed.
- Your pet can become infected with roundworm in several ways:
- Consuming infective worm eggs from the soil in the environment (grooming/ self-licking is the most common way to consume eggs from the soil)
- Nursing from an infected mother 
- Consuming prey animals (rodents) that are carrying "developing worms"
- During embryonic development when an infected mother dog is pregnant (most common way that puppies get roundworm)


Whipworm

- The Whipworm is substantially smaller then the other worms (30-50 mm in length)
- Unlike the other intestinal parasites, whipworms live in the Cecum.  This is part of the Large intestine where the small and large intestine meet.
- The head of the worm (digestive end) is skinny where as the tail (reproductive end) is stout, giving it the "whip-like" shape
- Adult Whipworms bite the tissue of the intestine, actually embedding their heads inside of the intestinal wall, and suck the blood of their host.
- When they lay eggs, they are laid in the large intestine and then passed into the environment through the stool. (The eggs require 2 to 4 weeks to form embryos and become capable of infecting a new host)
- Contaminated soil is the source of infection, not fresh feces.  A new host will become infected by grooming themselves and swallowing the egg.


Tapeworm

- The Tapeworm lives in the small intestine.  It has six rows of teeth that it uses to grab onto the intestinal wall. 
- The tapeworm absorbs nutrients through its skin as the food being digested by the host flows past it.
- The tapeworm's body is basically a head segment to hold on with, a neck, and many tail segments.  Each segment making up the tail is like a separate, independent, digestive system and reproductive tract. By the time a segment has reached the end of the tail, only the reproductive tract is left. When the segment drops off, it is basically just a sac of tapeworm eggs.  The sac is passed from the hosts rectum and out into the world.  It then breaks and tapeworm eggs are released. 
- The tapeworm eggs are then ingested by larval fleas.  Your pet can then potentially swallow the infected flea.  Once inside the hosts stomach the fleas body is digested and the young tapeworm is released.  (It takes roughly 3 weeks from when the flea is ingested to when the tapeworm segment appears on the pets rear end.)

* Internal parasites can be treated with a dewormer.  We offer "Over-all" de-wormers here at CVC which will de-worm your pet against all four of these internal parasites.  You can also prevent your pet from getting worms by having them on a Heartworm Preventative every month which also deworms your pet for Hookworm and Roundworm (Heartgard) or Hookworm, Whipworm, and Roundworm (Trifexis and Advantage Multi) as well as Heartworm.



External Parasites


Ear Mites

- Ear mites are tiny infectious organisms resembling microscopic ticks.  These mites can barely be seen as a small white dot with the naked eye.  Ear mites are usually detected in an ear swab cytology, which consists of a veterinarian taking a swab from your pets ear and looking at it under the microscope.  Infection usually, but not always, produces a dry, black ear discharge which is often described as a "coffee grounds"discharge.
- The life cycle of the ear mite is extremely interesting.  The female mite will live on the surface of the ear canal skin.  It will then lay eggs, which hatch after 4 days of incubation.  The larva then hatches from the egg and feeds on ear wax and skin oils for approximately 1 weeks before it molts into a protonymph.  The protonymph in turn molts into a deutonymph.  The deutonymph does not actually have a gender at this point.  It mates with an adult male ear mite and then it actually turns into either a female or a male.  If it becomes a female, it is already impregnated with eggs and ready to lay them at any time, if it is a male, there is no consequence, they will form into an adult male and ready themselves to mate with any deutonymph of their choosing. 
- An ear mite will live two months, happily eating ear wax and skin oils.  The time it takes for an eggs to develop into an adult mite that is ready for parenthood, requires roughly three weeks.
- Most ear mite cases are found in cats.  Dogs can be infected as well, but dogs more commonly get ear infections. Ear infections in dogs usually do not involve mites.


Ticks

- Ticks are skin parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts.  Ticks like motion and warm temperatures which is why they are greatly attracted to humans and animals. The tick bite itself is usually not painful but the parasite can transmit diseases and cause tick paralysis.

Tick Paralysis
- Tick Paralysis is caused by neurotoxins secreted in the Saliva by certain species of female ticks.  The signs usually occur 5 to 9 days after the attachment of the tick. (Not all tick-infested animals develop paralysis, and not all female ticks produce the toxin)
- Tick Paralysis causes rapidly ascending, lower motor neuron weakness.  You may notice weakness in the hind limbs, followed by forelimb weakness and paralysis of all four legs.

Anaplasmosis
- Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease.Signs and symptoms are very vague.. If they are seen they most often occur during the acute phase of infection (1 to 2 weeks after transmission).  They include Lethargy, Lack of Appetite, and Fever.  Dogs may also become lame because their joints are painful.
- Anaplasmosis is diagnosed by a SNAP test.  If it comes back positive a Blood Smear will then be performed by the Doctor to confirm.
- Doxycycline is the most commonly used antibiotic for Anaplasmosis Treatment. 

Erlichia
- Erlichia is a type of bacteria that infects and lives within the white blood cells of their host.  It is most commonly transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick and the Lone Star Tick. 
- Signs and symptoms of Erlichia include: Lethargy, Fever, Loss of Appetite, Weight Loss and Abnormal Bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding under skin, etc)
- Erlichia is also diagnosed by a SNAP Test.  If it comes back positive, a blood smear will the be performed by a doctor to confirm the positive.
- Doxycycline is the most commonly used antibiotic for Erlichia.

**After infection, it is possible to become re-infected.  Immunity is not lasting after a previous infection!**

Lyme Disease 
- Canine Lyme Disease wont begin to manifest for weeks to months after the infection.  Most of the time the only symptom you may notice is "arthritic symptoms". 
- Most exposed dogs harbor the organism uneventfully and never get extremely sick.  A dogs most serious long-term potential regards glomerular disease.
- Glomerular Disease is kidney damage that occurs when the immune system is stimulated over a long time by a latent infectious organism or other immune stimulus.
- Lyme Disease diagnosis is done by a SNAP Test.
- Doxycycline is the most commonly used antibiotic for Lyme Disease.

** A SNAP Test works by drawing blood from your pet.  The blood is then mixed with a conjugate and placed into the SNAP Test.  The SNAP Test is then placed into an Idexx SNAP Pro Machine which literally "snaps" the test and analyzes the results.  When the test is "snapped" it releases a chemical into the blood/conjugate mixture, if the chemical reacts to the mixture, it will the indicate a positive reading. **

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