Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Parasites

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Close encounters of the ‘tick’ kind…Your pet, pathogens & Lyme disease

Posted in Dogs, Horses, Other diseases, Parasites
Guest Blog by Dr. Michelle Evason DVM DipACVIM, and current PhD student researching Lyme disease in dogs Recently, an interesting article on pet ownership and human tick risk was published (Jones et al, Zoonoses and Public Health 2017). The study looked at risk factors for “tick encounters” in people living in Lyme disease endemic states in the… Continue Reading

Echinococcus multilocularis: Alberta, Canada

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
Several news articles have been written lately about the recently-described cases of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in four people in Alberta. The cases of alveolar echinococcosis have occurred over the past 4 years, and raise significant concerns. Echinococcus multilocularis is a small tapeworm but it causes big problems. Why? It’s a potentially nasty parasitic disease that can act a lot… Continue Reading

Things not to do with raccoons

Posted in Parasites, Rabies
1) Pick up baby raccoons and take them away Rarely does this end well. It’s illegal in many areas (including Ontario). Raccoons don’t do well long-term in households for various reasons (their curious and destructive nature being a big one). And, they are potential sources of a number of zoonotic diseases (rabies being a big one but not… Continue Reading

Petting Zoos, Outbreaks and Denial

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
I think petting zoos can be great. I’ve taken my kids to many and think they’re a great way for people to see and interact with animals they would not normally encounter. However, there’s always some risk, and petting zoos range from exceptionally well run to horrible. It seems like there’s been steady improvement over… Continue Reading

Ontario lungworm update

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
The fox lungworm, Crenosoma vulpis, continues to be identified in dogs in Ontario. The attached map from WormsAndGermsMap shows the cases we know about. There aren’t many, but the issue of “rare vs rarely diagnosed” is important. As a relatively new (or newly identified) problem that requires specific testing, it’s easy for it to be… Continue Reading

All you wanted to know about Baylisascaris…the raccoon roundworm

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
The US Geological Service isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think about publishers of zoonotic disease information (but what do I know?). If you’re looking for some holiday reading, the USGS has published a comprehensive overview of Baylisascaris larva migrans, a serious disease caused by Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm. This parasite… Continue Reading

Raccoon Roundworm Infection

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
The August edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases has an interesting case report of Baylisascaris procyonis infection in a California man (Langelier et al. 2016). Baylisascaris procyonis, commonly known as the raccoon roundworm, is a parasite that is very commonly found in the intestinal tracts of raccoons. Massive numbers of parasite eggs can be found in… Continue Reading

Worms and Germs Map Update

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Horses, Parasites, Rabies
A few years ago, we launched WormsAndGermsMap to help track certain emerging and endemic diseases. Data are entered by participating veterinary clinics, surveillance programs and the WormsAndGerms team. While we certainly can’t capture every case, we do collect some interesting information about the presence of certain diseases. Using the “Report Filter” bar on the left, you can… Continue Reading

Maybe Your Cat Isn’t Making You Crazy

Posted in Cats, Parasites
Headline writers have had a lot of fun over the past few years writing about toxoplasmosis and potential associations with neurological and behavioural disorders in people. Cats are the main natural host of Toxoplasma gondii, so “crazy cat lady” and other predictable headlines have ensued. But, what is the real risk? The answer is still… Continue Reading

Lungworm in Ontario dogs

Posted in Dogs, Parasites
Another emerging disease we’ve been paying attention to lately is canine lungworm. Lungworm is a generic name for infection caused by one of a few different parasites that live in the respiratory tract. A variety of different lungworms can cause disease in different species, and there tends to be a lot of regional variation. Recently,… Continue Reading

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