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Dogs + Parasites

  • Heartworm disease or dirofilariasis is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites. Two different mange mites cause skin disease in dogs. One lives just under the surface of the skin, while the other resides deep in the hair follicles. Although both mites share similar characteristics, there are also important differences.

  • NOTE: If you perform the demodectic mange dipping yourself, be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection to prevent contact with your skin. Serious side-effects may result from improper usage. Be sure to follow any label instructions carefully.

  • Sarcoptic mange is caused by a parasitic mite that burrows just beneath the surface of the skin, Sarcoptes scabiei. The mite feeds on material in and on the skin. It is also known as scabies and is a zoonotic disease or a disease transmissible from pets to people.

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

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