Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Parasites

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Deworming wild and feral animals

Posted in Parasites
I had a question the other day about roundworms in feral cats. Specifically, how do you deworm a group of cats that you don’t handle and may not be able to catch? There are a few possible approaches, from trapping and treating (oral or topical) to trying to get a dewormer into them via food.… Continue Reading

Raccoon roundworm reminder

Posted in Parasites
An article by Dr. Ann Britton of British Columbia’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) on the blog site healthywildlife.ca  is another reminder of the perils of raccoon poop. Over a 2 year period, 17 raccoons were submitted to the AHC for necropsy, and 12 (71%) of them were infected with Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. The… Continue Reading

All about tapeworms and Echinococcus

Posted in Parasites
The latest Worms & Germs infosheets are all about some common and not-so-common members of a particular group of parasites: tapeworms. There are a number of different groups and species of tapeworms that can infect pets, people, and other domestic animals, and sorting through which is which can be tricky, so we created a Tapeworms… Continue Reading

Identifying the “right” parasite control program

Posted in Parasites
Here is another guest blog, this time from the "worm-guy" Dr. Martin Nielsen of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. At the recent 9th International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases (EIDC) in Lexington, Kentucky several sessions were focused on parasite control of horses. Drug resistant parasites are a world-wide problem in… Continue Reading

Deworming dogs… How often?

Posted in Parasites
Deworming has become a controversial subject. There are numerous opposing views, strong opinions and conflicts of interest that drive a lot of debate on the subject. There’s no argument that parasites can be bad for pets and some can pose a risk to people. There’s no argument that we want to reduce parasite burdens in… Continue Reading

Baylisascaris in Winnipeg

Posted in Parasites
There was another paper published in the August issue of the Canadian Veterinary Journal about Baylisascaris procyonis (roundworms) in raccoons, this time in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Sexsmith et al 2009). The study was actually undertaken after infection with B. procyonis larvae was identifed as the cause of death of several animals in the collection at the… Continue Reading

Giardia in dog parks

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
There is a recent paper in Preventive Veterinary Medicine about a study of Giardia in canine stool samples collected from urban green areas around Pisa, Italy (Papini et al). The authors went to parks and similar areas and collected stool samples off the ground. They then tested the samples for the presence of Giardia and (very… Continue Reading

HIV/AIDS, kids and pets

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases, Parasites, Salmonella
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections Among HIV-exposed and HIV-infected Children. A small but still important part of this document involves recommendations for contact with animals. It’s a nice, balanced document that acknowledges the risk but doesn’t make unnecessarily restrictive recommendations. Among… Continue Reading

Raccoon deterrents

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
We’ve written various posts about raccoons, raccoon latrines and concerns about the raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis). I received a question today about how to keep raccoons from coming back after a latrine has been identified and cleaned. It’s a good question, and one without a simple answer.  I’ve looked through various sources and have found… Continue Reading

Raccoon latrines in Chicago

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
If you live in the suburbs of Chicago (or probably many other cities as well), chances are pretty good that you live close to a raccoon latrine. Raccoons like to defecate in specific areas (raccoon latrines) which can become highly contaminated with eggs of Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. Human disease caused by this parasite… Continue Reading

More on Giardia in healthy dogs

Posted in deworming, Dogs, Parasites
New research provides more information on the debate about testing and treating of healthy dogs for Giardia. Two abstracts on the subject by researchers at Colorado State University were presented at the recent American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine conference. In the first study (Clark et al), fecal samples were collected from 220 healthy dogs.… Continue Reading

Giardia and high-risk households

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
Giardia is a relatively common protozoal parasite that can cause diarrhea in people and dogs (among other species). It can also be present in healthy pets, with most studies reporting Giardia shedding in approximately 7% of healthy dogs. While recent research indicates that a large percentage of dogs with Giardia carry types that do not… Continue Reading

Traveling parasite roadshow

Posted in deworming, Parasites
There have been a few press articles lately about the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)’s traveling roadshow on parasitic zoonoses. Measures to increase awareness about zoonotic diseases and encourage appropriate preventive measures are needed, and traveling shows such as this have the potential to reach wide audiences. However, it’s important for people to critically assess… Continue Reading

Parasite exposure from pets

Posted in Cats, deworming, Dogs, Parasites
A recent study from the Netherlands investigated the prevalence of zoonotic parasites in pet feces and on pets’ haircoats. The authors sampled feces and fur from dogs and cats, and looked for Toxocara (roundworms), Toxoplasma, Giardia and Cryptosporidium. All these parasites are of concern from a public health standpoint because they can be found in… Continue Reading

Are all Giardia created alike?

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
Giardia is a protozoal parasite that can cause diarrhea in multiple animal species. This microscopic parasite is a zoonotic pathogen that can be transmitted between animals and humans, and there are conerns about the role of pets in human disease.  Various studies have evaluated the presence of Giardia in healthy dogs and, to a lesser degree,… Continue Reading

Canadian parasite treatment guidelines for pets

Posted in Cats, deworming, Dogs, Parasites
Canadian Guidelines for the Treatment of Parasites in Dogs and Cats have recently been released. These guidelines were developed by an expert panel, consisting of six Canadian veterinary parasitologists and two private practitioners. They provide a good, balanced approach to the treatment of parasites, with an emphasis on the risks present in different regions and… Continue Reading

Feeding wildlife: Bad idea

Posted in Other animals, Parasites, Rabies
A recent question from a reader: "We live adjacent to the Oak Ridges Moraine in Aurora (Ontario) so our property has always been popular to local wildlife.  For years, neighbourhood animals have enjoyed dry cat food in our backyard but the town has ordered this practice must stop immediately.  Among reasons given, were that this… Continue Reading

UK man campaigns to educate about Toxocara

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
A UK man is on a campaign to raise awareness about Toxocara, following an infection that blinded the child of a family friend. Mike Kennedy, chairman of the Grange Residents’ Association, is  raising awareness about the importance of picking up "dog dirt" (i.e. dog stool). Toxocara canis is an intestinal parasite that can be found… Continue Reading

Sandbox worms

Posted in Parasites
I received this question the other day: I just bought sand for a sandbox that I bought new 3 weeks ago. My granddaughter and I were playing in it and I came across some 2 inch long worms. I had a cover on my sandbox from day one so no animals got into it. I… Continue Reading

Climate change and pet health

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Other diseases, Parasites
Recently, I made a few comments about climate change and the potential impact on infectious diseases in horses on our sister site, equIDblog. A recent news article in New Scientist discussed concerns about climate change and pets. The main infectious disease concern regarding climate change is changes in patterns and spread of insect-borne diseases, because different… Continue Reading

Raccoon roundworm in New York

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
ProMed mail has a report about 2 cases of Baylisascaris procyonis infection in people in Brooklyn, New York.  Baylisascaris is the raccoon roundworm and is very commonly found in the intestinal tract of healthy raccoons. Raccoons shed this parasite in their stool, and after a short period of time, the parasite larvae become infective to… Continue Reading

International Pooper Scooper Week

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
I guess there’s now a week for absolutely everything. aPaws, the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (no, I’m not making this up) has declared April 1-7 to be International Pooper Scooper Week. The overlap with April Fool’s Day is apparently just a coincidence.  This group was formed in 2002 in recognition of "the growing… Continue Reading