Educational Articles

Parasites

  • Lung flukes are parasitic organisms called trematodes. The most common lung fluke to affect dogs in North America is called Paragonimus kellicotti, also known as the North American lung fluke.

  • A lungworm infection is caused by one of several parasitic roundworms. Dogs pick up a lungworm infection by swallowing infective stages of the parasitic lungworm. The exact means of picking up the infection varies according to the life cycle of the particular parasite.

  • 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.

  • Common conditions of pet prairie dogs include obesity, dental disease, respiratory disease, heart disease, and parasites. Prairie dogs can also be afflicted with cancer and ringworm.

  • Pythiosis is the result of being infected by a water mold called Pythium insidiosum. This organism can affect the gastrointestinal tract or the skin.

  • During the summer months, pet rabbits allowed to run outdoors might be affected by a fly maggot infestation. Different terms are used for this but fly strike is a common one. Another is to say that the rabbit is fly blown.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever 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 cover multiple body systems. Early diagnosis and treatment gives 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.