Roses are red, violets are blue, what's lurking inside you?
A fecal sample from a 6-month old golden hamster, initially presented for rectal prolapse and surgery, was submitted to the parasitology diagnostics laboratory to evaluate the presence of parasites eggs. The fecal sample was centrifuged with Sheather’s sugar solution and the following egg was observed.
Image 1: Parasite egg measures 45 µm x 30 µm.
Hymenolepis nana, a parasite of rodents and humans. Egg size ranges from 30 to 50 µm. The inner membrane has two poles, from which 4-8 polar filaments spread out between the two membranes. The oncosphere has six hooks.
The infective larval stage called Cysticercoid, develops in fleas and flour beetles. Besides these intermediate hosts, H. nana can complete its life cycle within the intestinal tract of a rodent or human, where the eggs hatch and form a cysticercoid in the intestinal mucosa. These cysticercoids later reenter the lumen to complete their development.
The importance of this parasite is the zoonotic potential.
New Year, New Problem
A litter of three Labrador retriever mix puppies were rescued from a local shelter in Oklahoma. As part of the clinical exam a fecal analysis was performed. The following eggs and parasites were observed on fecal centrifugation with sugar Sheather’s solution (Images 1-3).
Image 1: Parasite eggs at 100x magnification. Arrow pointing to egg measuring 150 µM x 75 µM.
Image 2: 100x magnification.
Image 3: Arrows pointing to distinct feature of the parasite.
Sarcoptes scabiei, also called scabies mite in dogs. Sarcoptes are found in domestic animals and humans. They are transmitted by direct contact with an infested animal or contaminated fomites. Female mites burrow into the epidermis and deposit eggs. (Numerous Toxocara canis also observed on image.)
Sarcoptes cause pruritus, alopecia and thickening of the skin. Although initially found on areas with thick skin or hairless, they can affect large areas of the skin.
Skin scrapings are the diagnostic method, however mites can be difficult to recover. In some cases, mites are passed in the feces of the host after they ingest them while trying to relieve the intense pruritus.
Female mites measure an average of 400 µM while males are smaller around 250 µM. They both have suckers on the unsegmented stalks on first and second pairs (image 4, small arrows) and males also have suckers on the fourth pair. The third and fourth pair of legs are short and rarely project past the margin of the body.
All I want for Christmas is to be parasite free!
A fecal sample from a 2 year-old cat with history of anorexia, was submitted to the Oklahoma Diagnostic Laboratory for fecal analysis. A fecal flotation with Zinc sulfate solution (specific gravity 1.18) was performed and the following eggs were observed (Photos 1-2).
Photo 1: Parasite eggs at 100x magnification. Sizes range from 35 µM to 40 µM.
Photo 2: Closer view with larva inside the egg.
Physalpotera spp. are Spirurid parasites of the stomach of dogs, cats and other wild mammals. Clinical signs are rare and may include vomiting and anorexia. The recommended detection method is fecal sedimentation (photo 3, below), however on occasion they can be detected with fecal centrifugation.
Life cycle: The eggs are ingested by beetles, cockroaches or crickets where they develop into the infective stage. The definitive host in this case a cat, becomes infected when ingests the intermediate host or paratenic hosts such as reptiles.
Photo 3: Physaloptera spp. recovered by sedimentation.
Thankful for cattle parasites
A beef cattle herd located in central Oklahoma, started showing weight loss over the past few months. Five cows died during the last week of October. One of the cows was submitted for necropsy and the following parasites were found on the trachea.
Image 1: Anterior end of worm
Image 2: Caudal portion of a male worm.
Image 3: Larvated eggs recovered from adult females
Images 5–7: Larva hatching from an egg
Adults: Up to 3 inches long, white in color. Found in the bronchial tree, where they cause chronic bronchitis and localized occlusion of the bronchial tree. Adults of Dictyocaulus viviparus are the only parasites that reach maturity in the lungs of cattle.
Eggs: Contain a vermiform embryo that usually hatches before is eliminated in the feces (Images 5–7). While in the environment these larvae derive their energy from stored food materials ‘food granules’. Development to the infective stage requires about five weeks, and prepatent period is approximately one month.
A scary finding.
These larvae were found near the tail head of a stray dog. The dog is approximately 2 years-old but no other history was available. The larvae were submitted to the diagnostic lab for identification.
Image 1: Gross specimen. Lateral view (16 mm in length)
Image 2: Posterior end of larva showing spiracular plate.
Lucilia sericata third instar. Also called common green bottle fly. Found throughout the world, but is more specifically described as having a Holarctic (Northern Hemisphere) distribution, being widely distributed throughout the United States and southern Canada. The larvae feed exclusively on carrion and excrement where they develop after hatching from eggs. The larval stages can cause myasis in animals and humans.
Larvae: All stages are smooth, conical-shaped, and have a complete peritreme on the posterior spiracles. The larvae are white or yellowish through all three instars of development and reach a maximum of 12–18 mm before pupation.
Adults: The adults are usually a metallic green color and can also have a copper green hue. The back is hairy and the overall diameter is about 8–10 mm.
Posterior segment with two spiracles (three slits per spiracle = third instar), distance between each papilla (P) similar to distance between P1 and P2. Complete peritreme (black arrow) and central button (blue arrow).
Does this belong in a camel?
A routine fecal egg count was requested on a 2-year-old camel during the month of August. A Wisconsin was performed and the following parasite egg was observed:
Image 1: Egg measures 75 µM x 65µM
Spurious Toxocara cati
This camel ingested food contaminated with cat feces. The egg is fully larvated which means the egg has been in the environment for a few weeks. We know the egg is T. cati due to its size..
Camels have been reported to be infected with roundworms in other parts of the world, the species that infects them is Toxocara vitulorum (75 to 90 µM x 60 to 75µM), and it is commonly found in the small intestine of bovid calves in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Camels and adult bovines can become infected with Toxocara vitulorum after ingesting eggs from the environment. In calves the most common route of transmission is lactogenic. Treatment is recommended in young calves, however treatment in adult bovines is unlikely to be effective because of the inability of the drugs to affect hypobiotic larval forms.
Treating the camel for the spurious Toxocara cati egg is not necessary as it is not a true parasite of camels.
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