roundworm puppyRoundworms is the common name for several species of nematodes or ascarids. The name roundworms is derived from the tubular shape of the worms. Several species can infect dogs, but the species Toxocara canis can cause significant problems in humans as well as the species found in raccoons, Baylisascaris procyonis.

Dogs can become infested with roundworms by ingesting the eggs in the environment deposited in fecal matter, through the placenta while in the womb, or in the milk when nursing. The larvae then migrate through the liver and lungs of the puppy where they enter the air way, are coughed up, and then swallowed. They then settle in the intestinal tract absorbing the nutrients that should be meant for your puppy. A lot of damage is done when they are migrating through the body.

In humans, accidental ingestion of roundworm eggs can also migrate internally causing a syndrome know as visceral larva migrans. Signs of  VLM  can be characterized by hepatomegaly (liver enlargement), lung disease, and increase in eosinophils from allergic reactions. The larva can also migrate through the nervous system causing neurologic disease.
In some children, the larvae can migrate to the eyes causing inflammation and may result in blindness.

roundworms 300x221 Roundworms in Puppies

Contamination of the environment by raccoons has caused  significant problems in some regions. The migration of the raccoon roundworms also cause more significant disease problems. Accidental ingestion has also occurred when children may have chewed on firewood, or when playing in contaminated sandboxes or playgrounds. The best defense for this is to be sure children do not chew on objects that may have been contaminated and to wash their hands after playing outside.

Because of the potential infection of people, puppies and dogs should
be de-wormed every 2 weeks starting at 2 weeks of age and then once a month as maintenance when 4 months old. The newer heartworm and flea preventions also include a dewormer to control hookworms and roundworms. Dogs infested with roundworms can pass thousands of eggs in their feces. These eggs can survive in the environment  and be
infective for several years.

For more information, visit Pets and Parasites What every Pet owner Should Know about Hookworms and Roundworms

Roundworms -Ascariasis

Eosinophlic Granuloma Complex in Cats

catEosinophilic Granuloma Complex (EGC) comprises three related conditions that affect cats, causing ulcers or swellings of the skin and mouth. Although their cause is not completely understood, the conditions are mediated by the cats own immune system.

The cause of Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex is unknown and can affect cats of any age, breed, or sex. Most commonly the first appearance of the disease will occur while the cat is still young or middle-aged. The lesions produced by EGC contain large numbers of active eosinophils, a type of immune cell normally associated with allergies and parasitic infections. Many cats with EGC have underlying allergies that may contribute to the development of EGC. Some researchers suspect that EGC is an autoimmune disease and may have a genetic origin. It is also possible that the cause of each of the three types of lesions seen with EGC may be different.

Types of Lesions
Three different kinds of lesions can be caused by Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex. It is possible for a cat to have more than one type of lesion.

An indolent ulcer (rodent ulcer) is a moist, reddish-brown ulcer that usually occurs on the upper lip. They can be found less commonly on other parts of the lip or inside the mouth. The indolent ulcer is painless and does not itch. Indolent ulcers are most common in middle-aged cats.

Eosinophilic plaques are moist, reddish, thickened, round or oval skin lesions usually found on the abdomen or inner thighs. They are intensely itchy.

Eosinophilic granulomas (linear granulomas) have different appearances depending on location. When found on the surface of the skin, they appear as line-shaped, hairless wounds or ulcers. Linear granulomas are most commonly found on the backs of the thighs of young cats, but can also occur on the face or the feet. They are painless and do not itch. Granulomas of the chin or lip do not always ulcerate but may simply appear as a swollen area with no other symptoms. Granulomas that occur inside the mouth appear as white spots or swellings. The presence of numerous granulomas in the mouth can cause difficulty eating.

Diagnosis of EGC is achieved by biopsy of the lesion or lesions. Microscopic examination of the tissue will reveal the presence of eosinophils and other characteristic changes associated with EGC.

The first step in treatment is to identify and control any possible underlying diseases that may be contributing to the problem, such as allergies or parasites. Remission of EGC lesions is often possible using treatment with drugs that suppress or modulate the immune system, such as corticosteroids. Prognosis is good, however, lesions may recur.