The Dangers of Parasitic Worms
| "What are Ringworms? |
Despite the name, Ringworms are not actually
worms, but fungus. The Fungus can cause a
circular, red, scaly shape to appear on your
pet's skin. There are 35 different species
of Ringworms that can affect dogs
and cats. The fungus that causes
Ringworms is most prevalent
during Fall and Winter. Humans can
also get Ringworms; the most likely cause is through
an infected pet.
How are Ringworms Transmitted?
Ringworm fungus spores are passed into a scratch or scrape on the same of different animal. The usual source is a carrier pet that shows no signs of the disease. Not all pets in a household that are exposed to ringworm develop the disease. Some of these animals go on to become silent carriers that spread the disease to others. Another common method of transmission is contaminated grooming supplies and electric hair clippers. Almost all dogs and cats that become infected with ringworms eventually cure themselves even if left untreated.
Symptoms of a Ringworm Infection:
• Patches of hair loss
• Red Circular scaly areas with raised edges
Treatment of Ringworm Infections:
Pets with ringworms are consistently shedding the spores back into their environment, making disinfection extremely difficult. It is important to clean the environment with a strong chemical like bleach that will kill the fungus. It's also important to use an antifungal shampoo or topical treatment on your pet to halt the infection. Until the infection has been cured it may be best to confine the pet to one room and treat the environment
outside. As previously mentioned, Ringworms can
affect humans, so it's important to create a safe
environment for both you and your pet.
| What are Roundworms? |
Roundworms are worms that live in the intestines and deprive their hosts of nutrients. On average they are about 3-5 inches long. Roundworms, sometimes called ascarids, pass moderate numbers of microscopic eggs which are found in the pet's stool. They do not attach to the wall of the intestine, as do some worms, but instead swim within the intestine.
How are Roundworms Transmitted?
Puppies/Kittens born to mothers that have had roundworms at any time in the past can transmit them to their litter before birth. In fact more than 90% of puppies are born with roundworms or acquire them shortly after birth from their mother. Both litter and adult mothers may become infected by swallowing roundworm eggs which contain infective larvae. The larvae hatch out in the animal's stomach and small intestine and migrate through the muscle, liver and lungs. After several weeks, the larvae make their way back to the intestine to mature. When these worms begin to reproduce, new eggs will pass in the pet's stool, and the life cycle of the parasite is completed. Roundworm eggs passed in one pet's stool may be infectious to other animals. A large number of other animal species have been found to harbor roundworms and represent potential sources of infection for pets. These includes: cockroaches, earthworms, chickens, and rodents.
Symptoms of a Roundworm Infection:
• Respiratory distress
• Loss of appetite
• Weight Loss
• Dull, Scruffy fur
• Swollen abdomen ("pot belly")
Treatment of Roundworm Infections:
Treatment is simple thanks to several safe and effective drugs that are available to kill roundworms in the intestine. Some of the drugs temporarily anesthetize the worms so they pass out of the animal with a normal bowel movement. The live or dead worms are found in the stool. Dewormers help remove parasites from your pet. It is recommended to give deworming treatments to your pets at least once every six months.
| What are Tapeworms? |
Tapeworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites seen in cats and dogs. There are several types of Tapeworms, but they all consist of a head and a long flat body made up of segments. Bodies of Tapeworms can be several feet in length if not more. Segments are passed in the animal's feces, leaving the head still attached to the animal's intestinal lining where it can produce new segments. If left untreated, it may become so long that it obstructs the intestines.
How are Tapeworms Transmitted?
The only way for your pet to contract Tapeworms is by ingesting fleas. Tapeworm segment breaks, it releases its eggs. Larvae fleas will consume Tapeworm eggs and the Tapeworm larvae will begin to grow inside the flea. When a pet licks itself it can ingest the inflected flea and the larva Tapeworm will then attach itself to its new host's intestines.
Symptoms of a Tapeworm Infection:
Most infected animals are seemingly unaffected, but here are a couple of signs to watch for:
• Anal irritation
• 1/4" White worms in stool
• Vomiting, Loss of appetite
• Dried segments in pet bedding
(similar to cucumber seeds)
• Diarrhea (rare)
Treatment of Tapeworm Infections:
Treatment for the most common form of tapeworms in pets can be treated by a single injection or oral dosage. If you have an adult cat or kitten over 6 weeks of age, Tapeworm Tabs is the dewormer for you. It is safe and effective and can be easily mixed with food. Frontline Topspot is a flea and tick control that offers protection for at least one month. They come in 3, 6, and 12 packs. For both your cat and dogs, Frontline Plus provides your pet with the most complete spot-on flea and tick protection available. In addition to killing 98-100% of adult fleas on your pet within 24 hours, Frontline Plus also contains a special ingredient that kills flea eggs and larvae too. It keeps all stages of fleas from developing, preventing the chance for a Tapeworm infection.