Coughed up by a dog...
Magnified view of the cuticle of a parasite coughed up by a dog.
Case and photo provided by veterinarian and NCVP Merial resident Dr. Jessica Rodriguez, Texas A&M University.
This is a pentastomid (likely Linguatula serrata), a parasitic arthropod. Cuticular spines can be seen on each pseudosegment. The adults most commonly infect nasal passages of predacious mammals, reptiles, and birds. Intermediate hosts include small herbivores and fish, which become infected by ingesting eggs expelled from the respiratory tract or the feces of the definitive host. The larvae encyst in the viscera of the intermediate host and develop into nymphs. These parasites are also a zoonotic risk, as the human can serve as an accidental intermediate host, and rarely a definitive host.
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