Leptospirosis in Dogs
Over the years, we have seen an increase in leptospirosis cases with the Brampton and surrounding areas of Caledon, Georgetown and Mississauga. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the kidney and liver function in mammals. It is a zoonotic disease, which means that it can also be passed to humans. The leptospira bacteria is often carried by wildlife that we see often, such as skunks, raccoons, foxes and rodents. The most common form of transmission in the ingestion of infected urine or rodent-contaminated garbage. However, there are some forms of the bacteria that can penetrate damaged or thin skin. Infected or recovered dogs may also act as a source of transmission.
Leptospira bacteria is a very serious type of infection that should be treated immediately upon diagnosis. The incubation period between the infection and the onset of clinical signs is typically 4-12 days. This is why we have included the leptospirosis vaccination as part of our routine vaccines for our canine patients, as this is the best way to prevent such an infection.
Dog owners should take caution for their own health in regards to leptospirosis because, as mentioned above, it can be transmitted to humans as well. We advise that you avoid contact between your skin and the dog's urine. When cleaning soiled areas, please be sure to wear rubber gloves. All areas where your dog has urinated must be disinfected. Please note that this organism can be killed through the use of household disinfectants or diluted bleach solution.
How Do You Prevent Leptospirosis?
Routine vaccination program is the best choice for preventing it. The veterinarians at Snelgrove Veterinary Services can discuss this with you to decide if your pet is at risk.
Lyme Disease in Dogs
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, a type of bacterium that is transmitted to your dog through a tick’s bite. The disease-carrying organism, once in your pet’s bloodstream, is carried throughout the body and found commonly in joints. It was originally thought that only a few types of ticks could transmit the disease but studies have shown that many common species may also be carriers. The deer tick is the most common carrier.
Risk to People
Lyme disease does affect people but we cannot get it directly from dogs. We are infected in the same way, through the bite of a tick. Limiting exposure to ticks is essential for both you and your dog.
Preventing Lyme Disease in Your Dog
Limiting your pet’s exposure to ticks is the primary way to avoid this disease. Found in grassy, wooded and sandy locations, ticks can climb or drop onto your dog from a leaf, blade of grass or short tree, especially cedar. Keep your pets out of thick underbrush and on trails when in wooded or tall grassy areas to limit exposure.
How Do I Remove Ticks
We recommend checking your pet directly after visiting a potentially tick-infested area. The common deer tick is only about the size of a pinhead as a juvenile but is more visible as an adult, especially after feeding. If it is found moving around through your pet’s coat, it has not fed yet and should be removed immediately. Place it in rubbing alcohol or eliminate by crushing between hard surfaces. If the tick is attached to your dog, you can try to remove it yourself. We recommend bringing your pet to Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton, where our professionals can ensure the tick has been removed. It may be common for the head to be left embedded in your pet’s skin. We can also send the tick to a lab for testing to find out if it was a carrier for Lyme disease.
What Are Tapeworms?
Tapeworms are common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats. Classified as cestodes, they are in a different family from hookworms and roundworms – the other common intestinal parasites found in your pets. Tapeworms attach to the wall of the small intestine with hook-like mouth parts. In the adult parasite, segments from the body will break off and pass into the feces. Fleas are the hosts for dipylidium caninum tapeworms and necessary for the parasite to complete its life cycle. Your pet is infected by tapeworms through the ingestion of fleas. Tapeworms are common in environments infested with fleas. Lice have also been reported as a host for tapeworms.
There are plenty of treatment options but be forewarned that not all options are equally effective. For treatment guidance concerning the de-worming preparation most suitable for your pet, you should speak with Snelgrove Veterinary Services at 905-846-3316. If you believe your pet has tapeworms or are concerned about this parasite, please contact us.
Flea control is the primary way to prevent tapeworm infections. Many flea control products are effective and easy to use. Keep in mind that if your dog or cat lives in a flea-infested area, tapeworm infection can be re-established in just a few weeks. This is rarely due to treatment failure. The reappearance of tapeworm segments indicates a re-infection of your pet.
Snelgrove Veterinary Services recommends the following:
Treat your pet promptly when tapeworms are detected
Remove and dispose of pet feces properly – especially in public parks, yards or playgrounds
Teach your children to practice strict hygiene procedures after playing outdoors
This type of worm is the most common of all internal parasites. Commonly 3" to 4" long, but they can be up to 7" long. They can sometimes be seen in vomit or feces, but are most commonly identified through stool samples checked by your veterinarian. These worms absorb nutrients from your pet and can cause several malabsorption issues in puppies. Heavily infected pets can appear potbellied, have a poor hair coat and appear thin. In rare cases, pets can become constipated or have intestinal impaction due to the amount of worms. Pets get roundworms from ingesting eggs directly from any area where another animal may have had a bowel movement. They can also get them from their mother or by eating infected animals (rabbit, mouse, etc.).
Tiny 1/2" long worms (nearly impossible to see), attach to the intestines and suck blood. They can cause fatal anemia in puppies. They can be spread through the pads of the feet (human feet as well) when in the larval phase. These worms then migrate throughout the body and end up in the intestines. Pets can also get hookworms from their mother and from direct ingestion of larvae from either eating an intermediate host animal (rabbit, mouse - which the parasite has embedded itself in their muscles and is lying dormant etc.) or from eating a well-developed larvae inadvertently while eating things/drinking from the ground.
Primarily a dog-only parasite, they are called whipworms due to their whip-like appearance of the adult worm. They can cause watery and often bloody diarrhea. This can be a very tricky parasite to catch on fecal testing as the female worms do not pass large numbers of eggs. Multiple fecal testings may be required to catch these parasites. It is spread by direct ingestion of the egg in the environment. These eggs are extremely hardy and are resistant to heat, cold and drying out. They can be infective for years, so any owner who has a dog with whipworms must be very diligent to pick up all feces immediately so as not to re-infect the dog again and again.
Coccidia is a single-celled parasite that is easily transmitted through direct contamination. Once the coccidia multiplies, it is immediately infective and is easily spread through direct/indirect ingestion of contaminated water/food sources. It can cause watery diarrhea in puppies and debilitated adult dogs, but often comes with no clinical signs in healthy adult dogs. The most common species of coccidia is generally only infectious to dogs and cats, but other species of coccidia are infectious towards other animals and humans as well.
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that usually is found in water or very wet areas. They have 2 life stages, a fragile mobile stage and a dormant cyst stage. Stool will usually be soft and mucousy, frothy, particularly foul-smelling and sometimes with blood in it. It is highly recommended to bathe a giardia positive pet and wash all bedding in hot water and a hot dryer and scrub all contaminated areas with hot water and allow to fully dry. It is spread by animals/humans inadvertently drinking contaminated water. (i.e. river, lake water) containing the parasite.
My Child Has Pinworms. Are They from My Cat?
No. Pinworms do not infect cats or dogs. Tapeworms and pinworms look very similar but any worm segments associated with cats are from tapeworms. Your child did not get the pinworms from your cat or dog.