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Crayfish for dinner anyone?

Recently I examined a coughing dog that was in for his comprehensive physical examination and vaccinations. A microscopic view of a stool sample revealed a parasite egg that I had not seen since my veterinary college days. This dog had lungworms, which are small roundworms that, as their name suggests, live in the lungs of infected dogs, or for that matter any infected mammal. The lungworm, common in Michigan, usually lives in wild life such as raccoons that eat crayfish.This parasite’s life cycle involves spending part of its development in snails, then reaching the infective stage in crayfish. Any mammal eating such a crayfish then becomes infected with the lungworm parasite.

The owner’s other dog also tested positive for the lungworm parasite. Both dogs loved to swim in the owner’s pond and liked to catch and eat crayfish. They were treated and recovered. This is a good example of why your pet’s stool specimen must be microscopically examined at least twice a year, or more often depending on its environmental exposure risk.

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