Educational Articles

Parasites

  • Heartworms are a blood-borne parasite called Dirofilaria immitis that reside in the heart or adjacent large blood vessels of infected animals. There is no drug approved for treating heartworms in cats. Veterinarians now strongly recommend that all cats receive year-round monthly heartworm preventative in areas where mosquitoes are active all year round.

  • Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. Adult heartworms may live up to five years and, during this time, the female produces millions of offspring called microfilaria. You can prevent your dog from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive.

  • Heartworm disease or dirofilariasis is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. Treatment usually consists of several parts including an injectable drug to kill adult heartworms, antibiotics, and treatment to kill microfilaria. There is some risk involved in treating dogs with heartworms, although fatalities are rare.

  • Histoplasmosis is a chronic, non-contagious fungal infection caused by the soil-dwelling fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Histoplasma capsulatum is found globally and may infect both humans and animals. However, histoplasmosis is uncommon to rare in all but dogs and cats.

  • Hookworms are intestinal parasites of the cat and dog. Their name is derived from the hook-like mouthparts they use to anchor themselves to the lining of the intestinal wall. They are only about 1/8" (two to three mm) long and so small in diameter that they are barely visible to the naked eye.

  • Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense) are intestinal parasites of the cat and dog that get their name from the hook-like mouthparts they use to anchor themselves to the lining of the intestinal wall. They are only about 1/8" (3 mm) long and so small that it is very difficult to see them with the naked eye.

  • This handout is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your dog. There are also separate information sheets on roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and heartworms that will provide you with more details.

  • While many owners believe parasites are common causes of skin disorders and feather loss in birds, this is usually not the case. However, Knemidokoptic mange, also called “cere mites” or “scaly face” is a relatively common disorder, particularly in some of the smaller species of birds.

  • Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite found in dogs and certain rodents in many parts of the world, most commonly in rural areas. The parasite is transmitted by a small biting sand fly (Phlebotomus spp.). It is an important disease because humans can also contract Leishmaniasis.

  • Lung flukes are parasitic organisms called trematodes. The most common lung fluke to affect cats in North America is called Paragonimus kellicotti, also known as the North American lung fluke. Other species of lung flukes can infect cats in other areas of the world, but are rarely found in North America.