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Educational Articles

Dogs + Parasites

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease caused by an infectious organism with the scientific name of Rickettsia rickettsii. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever occurs in North, South, and Central America.

  • Roundworms are parasites that live freely in the intestine, feeding off of partially digested intestinal contents. Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina are two important species of roundworms in dogs. Infected dogs shed the microscopic roundworm eggs in their feces. Other dogs may become infected by sniffing or licking infected feces. There are many safe and effective preparations available to kill adult roundworms in the intestine.

  • Despite sounding like a toxicity, salmon poisoning is actually an infection. Salmon poisoning is caused by a type of bacteria found within parasitic flatworms that infect the tissues of wild fish found in coastal streams of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Tapeworms are flat, segmented intestinal parasites of the cat and dog. They use their hook-like mouthparts to attach to the wall of the small intestine. As the adult matures, individual segments, called proglottids, are passed in the feces of an infected dog. Clinical diagnosis is usually made by observing the white mobile tapeworm segments in the feces or crawling around the anus.

  • Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they are actually arachnids similar to scorpions, spiders and mites. All ticks have four pairs of legs (eight legs in total) as adults and have no antennae.

  • Whipworms are intestinal parasites that are about 1/4 inch (6 mm) long. They live in the intestinal tract of dogs where they cause severe irritation. Whipworm infection results in watery, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and general debilitation. Any dog with chronic large bowel diarrhea should be suspected to have whipworms, even if the stool sample was negative. Whipworms are far less common today than in previous years, because of widespread use of modern heartworm prevention products.