It's a Micro World after all is a blog dedicated to discussing pretty much whatever I feel like. When I delve into scientific matters it will primarily be discussing microbiology (agricultural, bioenergy, and environmental focus). Otherwise, I'll probably ramble on about sports and life.
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[Summary: Thomas Joseph found a flea on his Husky. Now he tries to make everyone afraid of fleas.]
Yes, it happened. I found a flea on one of my dogs. I was sitting there last night at dinner, minding my own business when my Husky came over to seek attention. He's the cutest thing you'll ever see with the lightest blue eyes, and a white and copper coat that is thick and luxurious. He's digging the cooler weather so is spending most of his time outdoors. Except for dinner time. So he nudged me and I leaned over to pet him. Holding his head in my hands I looked at his face and saw a speck. I figured at first it was dirt since he loves to dig. Then the speck ... moved. My heart sunk. My pup had fleas.
Now I give all of my dogs Frontline Plus, which is supposed to do a pretty good job of keeping fleas (and to a certain degree ticks) off of them. I follow the directions closely, so I was surprised to find a flea on him. So I grabbed the pyrethrin mist, worked a few good sprays onto his face, head and the remainder of his body and then proceeded to treat the kennels with an additional spray. I'll probably have to move up my Frontline Plus application to 21 days as opposed to the 28 I routinely wait between doses if I continue to see any fleas.
Now you might be wondering why I'm relating this story to you, and have this listed under "Microbiology". I'm doing that because of this creature ...
I'm not a big fan of this guy, and you shouldn't be either. This tapeworm commonly infects flea-infested dogs (and cats) ... and even better, the occasional human. How? Via ingested fleas. (See CDC website)
Dipylidium caninum life cycle (CDC)
Lovely, huh? So lets start with the flea (on the dog). Dog bites areas where flea attempts to draw a bloodmeal. Dog ingests flea. Flea is dissolved, releasing cysticercoid which grow up to be a full-fledged tapeworm. This beastie, which averages 60cm in length (that's 2 feet in length for those who don't want to do the math), then starts producing proglottids which are the sexual reproduction stage of the tapeworm (in this species the proglottid has both male and female sex organs and fertilization is internal). After fertilization, you have maturation to the gravid stage.
At this point, the gravid begins the journey to the anus. It is either passed in feces, or crawls out on its own where it promptly dries up, cracks open and scatters its eggs to the environment. Along comes a flea larvae which consumes the egg. Oncospheres hatch from the egg, make their way out of the intestinal wall, and form cysticercoids by the time the flea matures to its own adult stage.
So, not to sound the alarm but if your dog (or cat) has fleas, you really want to treat them as immediately as you can. Small children, who are prone to putting things in their mouths, can easily ingest a flea causing them to become infected. It can also happen to adults as well, and while rare, I wouldn't consider it something to be ashamed of. So what if you have a two foot long parasite in your intestine, from which tiny moving critters detach and crawl out of your anus? No biggie.
And it really is no biggie. A single pill will fix that right up for both you and your pet. For your pooch, the vet can give you Droncit, which is also what your doctor will prescribe to you under the generic name of praziquantel. How will you know you (or your child) has it? Sometimes you'll experience stomach pain and bout of diarrhea, but oftentimes unless you see the gravid stage in your shorts you may never know.
But like I said, its rare. You're more likely to get tapeworms from raw fish (read: sushi) but I wouldn't want to alarm people by writing about those. Bon appetit!
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I used to always use the Frontline plus, but this year it did nothing for my dogs. I've switched to Advantage, and it worked well. I don't know if it was just a bad year for fleas or if they've gotten immune to what we use, but it was awful until we switched.
Many flea populations have developed Frontline resistance recently. Advantage sometimes will work on these, but the pesticides in both are pretty similar. If the Frontline isn't killing them, decreasing time between re-applications probably won't help and may make your pup ill. Ask your vet for Vectra - no resistance on that yet!
@Tracey So this is a wider problem than just us? Thanks for the info.
I was thinking of switching to Revolution. It would figure if the fleas in my area became Frontline Plus resistant. i just bought six months supplies for all three dogs.
Same here TJ. When we figured out what was going on I was not happy about wasting all that money, however, it's been well worth it since my dogs have stopped scratching.
I'd say BETTER than bed bugs. Fleas are definitely easier, from everything I've read, to eliminate (or at least keep populations at bay and off your dogs). Bed bugs horrify me, they're HUGE (size of an apple seed), and from everything I've seen ... extremely laborious to remove from a house once they've established residence.
Gross! Glad I haven't eaten breakfast yet. I had absolutely no idea about this. We foster dogs for our local SPCA. Since they often come directly off the street or from a shelter, this could be a real issue for us. We have had numerous dogs with fleas and ticks that we've had to treat. Rare or not, it's good to be made aware! The SPCA always give us Advantage, will have to bear in mind the other products if we have a particularly stubborn case.
Bed bugs are creepy! The idea of them chowing down on me while I sleep is horrifying!
Yeah, it's gross stuff for sure. I was always extremely interested in parasitology during my days as a Med Tech. In practice, it wasn't much fun during my rotations because mostly what I did was scotch-tape test analysis (the "scotch-tape test" is the easiest way to diagnose pinworm). I'm not a hypochondriac (what a combination that would be with my microbiology degree) but I've got to admit, for the amount of time I spend with my dogs I'm considering getting a dose of Droncit just to be on the safe side!
Tapeworms are cheaper than gym memberships.
Gross. One of the many reasons my cats are indoors-only.....
Off to the vet to exchange my six month supplies of Frontline Plus to Advantage, as well as to get a few Capstar tablets (kills adult fleas within an hour). Rechecked my husky and he has so much flea dirt (dried up blood poop from fleas) that he needs a bath immediately. So once I'm back from the vet with their goodies, it's time to give them all flea baths. Fun fun!
Of course, the best way to catch a flea is with fried chicken.
Puppies have all been treated to a bath with flea soap, and misted with pyrethrin. That should hopefully cut down on their infestation until they dry out. Then it's treatment time with Capstar and then Vectra 3D*. In the meantime, I'm off to the feed store to get some diatomaceous earth.
*When my four month supply runs out, I think I'll switch to Revolution (with a Preventic tick collar) for a four month cycle, and then maybe Advantage. Plus I'm going to carpet bomb my lawn with so much flea & tick insecticide it won't be funny. It'll make Apocalypse Now look like a tea party.
My face has been stuck with a very icky look upon it since we started discussing the tapeworm, right around that picture in the middle.. It then got worse when you mentioned stuff crawling out of your body on its own. It then went totally horrid when you mentioned sushi being a potential breeding ground for them.
I'm not hungry anymore. And my face still has that look of icky upon it.
@Evie, You didn't know that? They're not the giant old tapeworms, just smaller 1-inch worms. They hang around for a few days and then die. Symptoms are a bit like appendicitis or peptic ulcer. Occassionally some overzealous intern cum resident screams "stomach cancer," and everyone gives him or her dirty looks when they're wrong. Don't think I've ever seen a tapeworm from sushi, but on the plus side. When those boats go out, they freeze the fish for about a week, until they're brought to the wholesale markets. Freezing for 3-4 days will kill most pathogens.
You're probably more likely to get sick from the prep than the fish. If the place you're going to is a buffet, and it smells kinda funky, and the fish is stored in buckets without ice...heh. Well, I wouldn't eat there. And I've eaten at a lot of holes in the wall in my life... That said, sushi-dans will throw out pieces if they see a worm crawling around. It's rare, but it happens.
@Jay, yea, I know, still makes my face go 'icky' whenever it's discussed.. I am actually very picky about my food, shocking, I know :)
Evie: I'm sorry?
JaySeeDub: Buffet sushi really should be an oxymoron (at least in certain parts of the United States). Plus, in most land-locked states, sushi should be banned. All based on anecdotal evidence mind you, but pretty much for just reasons.