Educational Articles

Dogs + Parasites

  • Giardiasis is an intestinal infection in humans and animals, caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite. The parasite occurs worldwide and is a common cause of "Traveler's Diarrhea" in people. Outdoor enthusiasts who inadvertently consume contaminated water may develop "beaver fever", which is another name for giardiasis in people.

  • 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.

  • Hookworms 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. A large number of hookworms can cause inflammation in the dog's intestine as well as a life-threatening decrease in the number of red bloods cells, which is called anemia. This problem is most common in puppies, but can occur in adult dogs.

  • This handout is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your dog. Intestinal worms can be a serious problem in young puppies. Heartworm disease is a major life-threatening problem in dogs. Speak to your veterinarian about the most appropriate parasite control program for your dog.

  • Leishmaniasis is a serious condition spread by flies that can affect dogs, cats, and people. It can severely damage the internal organs or skin and even with treatment, the outcome is often not successful.

  • Lung flukes are parasitic organisms called trematodes. The most common lung fluke to affect dogs in North America is called Paragonimus kellicotti, also known as the North American lung fluke.

  • A lungworm infection is caused by one of several parasitic roundworms. Dogs pick up a lungworm infection by swallowing infective stages of the parasitic lungworm. The exact means of picking up the infection varies according to the life cycle of the particular parasite.

  • Pythiosis is the result of being infected by a water mold called Pythium insidiosum. This organism can affect the gastrointestinal tract or the skin.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is spread by various species of ticks and is not confined just to the Rocky Mountain regions of North America. Clinical signs can be non-specific and cover multiple body systems. Early diagnosis and treatment gives the best prognosis for recovery after treatment with antibiotics. Prevention of tick bites and prompt removal of ticks is important.