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Parasites

  • There are many species of lungworm that can cause respiratory problems in dogs. Infection is acquired through either: ingestion of an intermediate host such as snails or slugs, ingestion of animals that have been infected by eating these animals or depending on the species, from an infected dog by contact with saliva, nasal discharge, or contaminated food and water bowls. Lungworms can be found throughout North America and the world with certain species seen in certain areas. Clincal signs can range from asymptomatic to tachypnea, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, respiratory distress or exercise intolerance. The degree of clinical signs is usually proportional to the strength of the dog’s immune system. Diagnosis involves history, physical exam, x-rays and organism identification through either baermann fecal examination or BAL/bronchoscopy. Treatment involves use of specific antiparasitic drugs for various lengths of time depending on type and severity of infection. Prognosis is good but re-infection can occur.

  • The two common guinea pig fur mites are Trixacarus caviae (sarcoptic mange mite) and Chirodiscoides caviae. Chirodiscoides caviae mites may cause mild to no clinical signs at all. Trixacarus caviae mites can cause extreme clinical signs because they cause extreme itchiness. Affected skin will get thick, yellowish, and crusty, with hair loss and secondary bacterial skin infection. These mites cause such itchiness that your guinea pig may even go into seizures and die. Your veterinarian will treat the affected animal with topical or injectable anti-parasitic medications, and since mites live in the environment, the environment must be treated, as well. Trixacarus caviae mites are contagious to people.

  • Parasites are not commonly diagnosed in pet birds; however, when present they can cause generalized debilitation in birds. With external parasites, your veterinarian can often make a diagnosis based on the results of a physical examination and a microscopic analysis of the skin lesions. Intestinal parasites are usually discovered when the feces are examined microscopically. Blood parasites are typically found during a routine blood count. External parasites are often treated with specific topical or oral antiparasitic medications. Internal parasites can be treated with a variety of oral or injectable medications.

  • The common rabbit pinworm, Passalurus ambiguous, is an intestinal parasite. It does not cause a serious health threat to rabbits, but it can cause uncomfortable itching and skin inflammation or redness around the anus. Rabbits become infected with pinworms by eating feces that contain pinworm eggs. Pinworms are challenging to treat because rabbits are coprophagic, so they frequently reinfect themselves during treatment. Treatment includes administration of anti-parasitic drugs, as well as diligent cleaning and elimination of all feces in and around your rabbit's cage and in other areas where she plays, sleeps, and roams.

  • The most common conditions affecting pet prairie dogs are: obesity, dental problems, cardiac disease and intestinal parasites. Regular scheduled veterinary examinations will be of great benefit to help discover problems or diseases before they cause a critical illness.

  • Pythiosis is a waterborne infection that can infect the GI tract or skin of dogs. It can cause extreme weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or skin lesions such as ulcerating nodules and draining tracts. This disease is more common in southern regions. Treatment involves surgical removal of all affected material if possible, including limb amputation if indicated. Different antifungal therapies have shown some efficacy and need to be continued long-term. Prognosis for resolution of pythiosis is guarded to poor.

  • Fly strike is basically a condition where flies are attracted to the fur or exposed skin on a rabbit, whereby they lay eggs that hatch into maggots that subsequently cause extensive skin and deep tissue damage. The attraction to flies comes from urine or fecal soiled hair or skin that has been damaged by fight wounds, fleas or skin mites. Treatment requires veterinary attention and potential hospitalization. Prevention is attained by keeping your rabbit INDOORS and clean.

  • Ringworm infections in cats are caused by a fungus, not a worm. They can be easily recognized, though definitive testing by fungal culture is recommended. Ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread between animals and from animals to people. The clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and risks are explained in this handout.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is spread by various species of ticks and is not confined just to the Rocky Mountain regions of North America. Clinical signs can be non-specific and affect multiple body systems. Early diagnosis and treatment give the best prognosis for recovery after treatment with antibiotics. Prevention of tick bites and prompt removal of ticks is important.

  • Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites of the cat. Almost all cats will become infected with roundworms at some point in their life and most often as kittens. Roundworms are not particularly harmful to adult cats, but large numbers may cause life-threatening problems in kittens and debilitated older cats.