Meet Charley and his icky worm! (not for the faint at heart)


We all know that pets get parasites. It is talked about all the time. Roundworms, hookworms, heartworms, etc. But more recently we had a new worm to us. Although we know it is out there, it is rare to have an actual case.

Let’s start at the beginning though.

Meet Charley. A happy, go-lucky, black Labrador Retriever. At just 2 years of age, he has had a wonderful childhood. Doing all of the things labs like to do. Running, playing, swimming and eating everything off of the ground. Including dead fish, frogs and anything else he can put in his mouth. Typical Lab behaviour, right?

But in this case, he ate the wrong fish or frog!

Charley presented to us with what seemed liked an everyday bladder infection. Especially common in dogs that spend time in water. His observant owners noticed him drinking and peeing more frequently and that his urine seemed a bloody colour. Urine testing was done which showed a large number of white and red blood cells. Consistent with a bladder infection. Charley was placed on antibiotics with a re-check booked for 10 days afterwards to make sure it had completely cleared up. At that time, a repeat urinalysis was run and although the infection seemed to have cleared up, he still had bloody urine. At this point, we x-rayed Charley to see if he perhaps had bladder stones. This would be rare in a dog so young. The x-rays revealed no abnormalities!

Hmm? So what was causing Charley’s bloody urine? Charley’s owners opted to be referred to a specialist.

At the specialist’s office, they performed an ultrasound and low-and-behold the culprit was found. A Dioctophyme renale otherwise known as the  Giant Kidney Worm!! Unfortunately for Charley, the treatment for this is to remove the affected kidney. Charley underwent surgery and is recovering slowly. Life with one kidney should not cause any further problems. But as for Charley, no more fish for him!


Kidney worm 2






Protecting Our Feline Friends!

Spring and summer time are often synonymous with dogs and heartworm prevention. But what about our feline friends – did you know that they can be affected by internal and external parasites as well? 

This time of year, worms and other parasites are more easily transmittable and cats are just as susceptible as dogs

Whether your cat is strictly indoors, or if they spend some time outside as well, there are many ways that they can contract these pesky little parasites, which can wreak havoc on their skin, intestinal tract and more. Some are even transmittable to humans!

The most common parasites that we deal with here at Snelgrove Vet Services are:


Fleas are probably the most easily identifiable parasite that you can find on your cat. If your cat goes outside, they can come into contact with fleas if they visit an area where another animal with fleas has been. If your cat stays indoors, fleas can also make their way inside by hitching a ride on the back of another pet and then jumping onto yours. In any case, fleas are not something that most people enjoy dealing with, as treatment involves both your animals and your home. Luckily, only animals can be hosts to fleas, not humans.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are much harder to spot, although not impossible, since they are so tiny. They typically live within the ear canal, but can also be found on the surface of the skin. They present as a dark, crusty discharge seen in or around the ear, with your cat shaking its head and scratching excessively at the affected area. Ear mites can be passed through direct contact, although again, they cannot live on humans, only animals.


Tapeworms are a type of internal parasite that are ingested and then attach themselves to the wall of the small intestine of your cat. Once the tapeworm becomes an adult, they can also travel to the stomach. Segments of the tapeworm can sometimes break off and be spotted in the stool (they look like bits of white rice), or if the infestation is large enough, your cat may vomit them up. Most often, your cat will become infected with tapeworms from eating mice or being bitten by fleas. These nasty little creatures can also be transmitted to humans. Yuck!


Roundworms are another type of internal parasite. While they can infect your cat at any age, they are most harmful to kittens and senior cats. Clinical signs include a distended abdomen, vomiting and/or diarrhea, as well as a decreased appetite. Again, this is a type of worm that is transmitted through ingestion – either from eating a smaller host (like a mouse or bird), picking it up off of the ground after walking through an area where infected stool has been, or even through the milk from the kitten’s mother. Roundworms also pose a risk to humans, especially young children.

Luckily, we have an arsenal of tablets and topical medications in our pharmacy that can combat these unwanted visitors!

Of course, prevention is always preferred to treatment

The doctors here at Snelgrove Vet recommend a monthly dose of either a tablet dewormer called Milbemax and/or a liquid medication applied directly to the skin called Advantage Multi. Contact our office today to learn more or if you suspect that your feline friend may be affected by parasites. We are always here to help!

For additional information on these, and other, parasites, visit the Pet Health section on our website – it has loads of great articles, all written by veterinary professionals.