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Worms-Parasites

Worms And Parasites

There are many different intestinal parasites that can infect your pet. You will not usually see the parasites in your pet’s stool.  The way to properly diagnose intestinal parasites is to run a fecal (stool) test.  The person performing this test will be looking for different parasite eggs and protozoan.

Roundworms

Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites. Adult roundworms live in the stomach and intestine, growing up to 5-6 inches in length. The eggs they produce are shed in the feces and can live in the soil for months and perhaps years.  Pets usually acquire these by contacting infected soil, drinking larvae infected water, eating an infected rodent, or from their mother’s milk.  Pets under 6 months are most likely to become sick.

Signs of Roundworms

  • Weight loss
  • Pot belly
  • Vomiting (possibly spaghetti-like worms)
  • Coughing/gagging

Hookworms

Hookworms are another common intestinal parasite pets can contract. Hookworms are up to an inch long and live in the small intestine.  Sharp hooks on their mouth opening enable them to latch onto the wall of the small intestine where they draw blood.  Pets become infested with hookworms by ingesting larvae in contaminated soil or feces, through direct contact through the pads on the feet, and through their mother’s milk.  The worms then migrate to the small intestine where they latch onto the wall and begin their life cycle.

Signs of Hookworms

  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Whipworms

Whipworms are yet another common intestinal parasite of pets. Whipworms reside in the cecum, which is inside your pet’s body where the small intestine and large intestine meet.  Pets become infected with whipworms by swallowing whipworm eggs in soil or other substances that may contain or have come in contact with feces.

Signs of Whipworms

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea with blood and mucus
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Tapeworms

Tapeworms live in the small intestine where they attach themselves to the intestinal wall.  Tapeworms have a head which stays attached to the intestine while the various body segments break off and pass out of the body.  These body segments contain eggs.  Tapeworms can be several feet in length.  The only way to eliminate tapeworms is by killing the head.  Pets get tapeworms by eating an infected flea which serves as a host.

Signs of Tapeworms

  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia

Coccidia

Coccidia are one celled protozoans. They can be passed directly from pet to pet.  Infected adult cats usually do not show disease signs unless their immune system is already stressed by disease, age (young or old), or environment.  A nursing mother can pass Coccidia to nursing pets through her milk.  Pets are much more susceptible to infection from Coccidia and can become very sick and even die from Coccidia.

Signs of Coccidia

  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Anemia

There are a number of different treatments for intestinal parasites.  Once your pet is properly diagnosed an appropriate treatment plan can be developed. If you believe your pet has been exposed to, or has any of the parasites listed above

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