INTESTINAL PARASITES: Worms

 

Roundworms

Roundworms are ‘spaghetti like’ worms commonly seen in the stool of dogs and cats.  They are most commonly seen in puppies and kittens as they can get them from their mother in the uterus and in the milk.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • Roundworms can infect people (zoonotic) and can cause serious problems such as blindness, especially in children and people with compromised immunity (AIDS/people getting chemotherapy).  Make sure you discard your pet’s feces in the trash and wash your hands after handling feces if you think your pet may have roundworms.

  • Roundworm eggs can live a LONG time in the environment, up to decades!

  • Most heartworm preventatives deworm your pet for roundworms

  • The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends that pets have a fecal parasite screening four (4) times in the first year of life and two (2) times yearly as an adult.

  • To minimize exposure to children, cover all sandboxes when not being used to prevent outside cats from defecating in the box.   Also, pick up all feces in areas where your children plan.


Hookworms

Hookworms are microscopic intestinal parasites that are commonly seen in pets.   Although it is possible to see a hookworm, they are very small. Like roundworms, puppies and kittens commonly get them from their mom during pregnancy or lactation.   Hookworms also commonly migrate into the body from the environment.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • Hookworms can also infect people and commonly cause a rash from migrating through the skin, particularly the feet

  • Hookworm infections in dogs can be severe and even cause death from anemia (loss of blood)

  • Fortunately, hookworm eggs don’t live as long as roundworms in the environment

  • Many heartworm preventatives also deworm pets for hookworms.

  • Similar to roundworms, good sanitation of the environment and hand washing is key to prevention of infection in people.


tapeworms

Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that pets get from ingesting fleas (when grooming) or raw meat (mice, etc.).   Although it is commonly thought that they cause weight loss, this is not usually the case but more commonly cause rectal irritation.  They are visible to the naked eye and look like a grain of rice/orzo pasta.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • While not impossible, tapeworms are not generally considered zoonotic. 

  • Good flea prevention generally means good tapeworm prevention

  • Tapeworm dewormers can be relatively expensive.   It is also common to need to treat multiple times to completely clear a tapeworm infection.


HEARTWORMS

As the name suggests, heartworms are NOT intestinal parasites. They are mentioned here because we have several clients mention seeing heartworms in the stool. You will not see heartworms in a dog’s stool, they live in the blood vessels/heart.

 

We all know people like Uncle Rupert, the hairdresser, and Dr. Website that like to give pet medical advice.  Sometimes this advice is correct but other times it can be dangerously inaccurate.  Please use our office as the ONLY resource for your pet’s surgical recovery.

ONE

Do not give ANY medications to your pet without first consulting with our office.  This does not include heartworm and/or flea –tick preventative medications.   Especially harmful medications are aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen, or any over the counter medication.


TWO

You may notice some mild clear, pink, or bloody discharge and swelling from the incision site for 2 – 4 days after surgery.   This is common and you can clean it up with a clean dish cloth/paper towel and warm water.  Please don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol or apply anything directly to the incision site unless directed to by one of our veterinarians as it may cause complications.   If you notice a large amount of discharge, swelling, or any yellow/green discharge, please schedule a recheck for your pet ASAP.


THREE

Please keep your pet from licking or chewing at the surgery site.  If they begin to attend to it regularly, your pet may need an Elizabethan collar to prevent them from damaging the surgery site.


 It typically takes anywhere from 2 weeks up to 3 months for a surgery to heal, depending on the surgery.   Please keep your pet’s activity level reduced during that time and keep them on a leash at all times when they are on a walk.   Please don’t allow your pet to jump after surgery as well.  If you have questions about when your pet can return to full activity, please don’t hesitate to call our office.

FOUR


If we recommend a recheck appointment, please make sure to make and keep it.  This is to ensure that your pet is recovering properly.

FIVE


Please make sure that all family members or those caring for your pet are informed of your pet’s special needs while recovering.

SIX


If you are having trouble following our recommendations (causing too much stress to your pet, logistics of giving medications, etc.), please don’t hesitate to call and ask for suggestions.   We are here to help your pet receive the best medical care!

SEVEN


It is common for pets to be lethargic and/or not eat or drink normally for 1 – 2 days after surgery.  Please call us if the following occurs:

             • Your pet does not drink within 24 hours of being discharged

             • Your pet does not eat within 48 hours of being discharged

             • Your pet does not defecate for 3 days after being discharged

             • Your pet does not urinate for 24 – 48 hours after being discharged

             • You think your pet is doing worse for ANY reason

EIGHT


NINE

If your pet was sent home with a bandage on a leg and the toes begin to separate (leg begins to swell), please have your pet seen ASAP.


TEN

We place IV catheters in all of our surgeries.  Many times pets go home with a small bandage where the catheter was removed to help stop bleeding from the catheter site.   You can remove this bandage after 1 – 2 hours unless you have received instructions otherwise.


It is common to see bruising at or near the surgical site.   If you notice bleeding /bruising in other places (besides surgery site or catheter site), please give us a call ASAP.

ELEVEN


Please check the incision site at least 2 times per day for 7 – 10 days after surgery.  IF you notice any separation of the incision or if anything appears to be sticking out of the surgery site, please give us a call.

TWELVE


THIRTEEN

Don’t be alarmed if your pets eyes look ‘weepy’ or have discharge from them for 24 hours after surgery.  We lubricate the eyes to make sure they do not dry out during surgery and this is commonly seen afterwards.


FOURTEEN

If you think at any time the pain medications sent with your pet are not adequately reducing pain, please give us a call.  Being pain free is an important component to fast healing.


Sometimes pets act abnormal and may be more prone to bite or scratch for a few days after surgery.  Please give your pet it’s space and also keep small children away from pets that are recovering from surgery.

FIFTEEN


SIXTEEN

If your pet was in-heat at the time of the surgery, please keep them away from males for 2 weeks.  Intact male animals may try to breed with them which could cause serious complications.

Blue Pearl - Greenbrier

1100 Eden Way North

Cheseapeake, VA 23320

Tel: 757.366.9000