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Microscope photography gallery

Veterinary parasites and other veterinary medical images.

 

Feline blood cells

Feline blood cells

        A feline White Blood Cell (possibly a toxic neutrophil), measuring ~8 micrometers in diameter. Note the fine purple granules in cytoplasm and multi-lobulated nucleus. The numerous brownish cells surrounding the red-stained WBC are the Red Blood Cells. Also visible are one and a half platelets. [A blood sample from Legolis, a VHS cat; Quick III stain] (Date: 4/12/03. By A.S.)

 

Macroconidium of Ringworm fungus

ringworm

        Microsporum canis fungus (the most common cat ringworm). The macroconidium portion with 8-9 cells inside is about 65 micrometers in length. [From a DTM for Ginger, a VHS kitten. Parker ink fungal stain.] (Date: 3/1/03. By A.S.)

 

Two macroconidia of Ringworm fungus

ringworm macroconidia

        Two macroconidia shown. [Also from a DTM for Giner, a VHS kitten. Parker ink stain] (Date: 3/1/03. By A.S.)

 

A cat hair infected by Microsporum canis

ringworm

        A cat hair infected by M. canis. Note the fungus hyphae on the hair shaft. (The bright spot is an artifact -- an air bubble.) [From a DTM for Ginger, a VHS kitten. Parker ink stain.] (Date: 3/1/03. By A.S.)

 

Heavily infected cat hairs (Ringworm)

ringworm

        Shows greater levels of infection and destruction of the hairs. This causes the hairs to be easily broken off, a common symptom in a Ringworm infection. [Cat hairs from a DTM for Ginger, a VHS kitten. Parker ink stain] (Date: 3/1/03. By A.S.)

 

House Dust Mite

House dust mite

        A ventral view of a female American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae Hughes), that somehow found its way onto a cat fecal flotation slide.  (Not to be confused with somewhat similar-looking ear mites.)  It is mostly harmless, though some people and animals may be allergic to it.  This one measures about 0.4mm head to rear. 

        Fecal flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/4/04. By A.S.]

 

Cat Roundworm (Toxocara cati) Egg

cat roundworm egg

        Roundworm Egg (Toxocara cati) found in a fecal sample from a group of kittens. (~65Ám) 

        Fecal flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/4/04. By A.S.]

 

Dog Roundworm (Toxocara canis) Egg 

dog roundworm egg

        This Toxocara canis egg was isolated from a soil sample from a local animal shelter's lawn, where the area is used for dog exercise.  Measures ~65Ám in diameter. 

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/21/04. By A.S.]

 

Dog Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) egg

Dog whipworm

        This Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) egg was found in a watery diarrhea sample from a border collie. This egg measures about ~79 x 36 Ám. 

        At the specific gravity of roughly 1.15, whipworm eggs are heavier than other common worm eggs and protozoa oocysts. The popular commercial fecal testing solution Fecasol«, at the sp. gr. of 1.20, should still float them, but keep in mind that watery diarrhea samples tend to thin the solution. If the flotation method is used for egg concentration, use of a heavier solution would help in floating these eggs for detection. 

        Fecal flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution at sp. gr. 1.26) [Date: 9/16/04. By A.S.]

 

Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) egg with a developed larva inside

whipworm egg

        This Trichuris vulpis egg holds a developed larva (top). It was isolated from a soil sample taken from a lawn of a local animal shelter, where the area is used for dog exercise.  (The other egg shown next to it looks like a distorted unfertilized hookworm egg.)

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/21/04. By A.S.]

 

Dog Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) female adult

whipworm female adult

        The whip-like overall shape gives rise to its common name "whipworm." The head is at the thin end, which is normally embedded in the lining of small intestine to feed on tissue secretions; the thick end is the tail which is left to flop in the GI tract lumen. A closer inspection shows that the thick posterior portion is holding numerous eggs, revealing it to be a female.  This female adult worm was found in the same fecal sample from the border collie, from which the whipworm egg shown above was also found. 

        While healthy adult dogs tend to tolerate Trichuris vulpis infection well, heavy infections in puppies can be fatal. Trichuris vulpis is generally not considered to be a health threat to cats and humans with normal immune systems, as it is host-specific to dogs, and because, unlike the roundworms and hookworms, its normal life cycle doesn't involve migration to organs outside the GI tract. (The common human whipworm is a similar, but different, species, Trichuris trichiura.) Infection is via an ingestion of developed eggs, such as the one shown above.

        Fecal flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution). Temporary saline mount. [Date: 9/16/04. By A.S.]

 

Tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) egg packets

Dipylidum caninum egg packet

Dipylidium caninum eggs

        These eggs, still wrapped in fragile egg packets, came from a single motile and gravid proglottid (a white worm "segment") found on a fresh dog feces at a local dog shelter.  In the case of this very common tapeworm species, Dipylidium caninum, the hatched larvae infect flea larvae, and the animal hosts - dogs, cats, rarely children - get the worm after they accidentally swallow infected adult fleas.  (Top: Multiple eggs - up to about 20 for D. caninum  - are held in a typical egg packet. Bottom: An enlarged view. The diameter of each egg measures ~44 Ám.) The single proglottid was placed on a slide, and the eggs were gently extracted from it.  

        Temporary saline mount [Date: 12/23/04. By A.S.]

 

Dog coccidia (Isospora ohioensis) oocysts

dog coccidia oocyst

        Isospora ohioensis  species of coccidia (or  any of the other few Isospora spp. that are morphologically indistinguishable), measuring ~23x19Ám.  The oocyst on the left had already sporulated to contain two sporocysts that can be seen in this photograph. (Each sporocyst holds four sporozoites that ultimately infect host cells, though they cannot be seen here individually.) A sporulated oocyst is capable of infecting the host when it is ingested. The one on the right had not sporulated, and so it is not yet infective. From a diarrhea fecal sample form a border collie mentioned above.

        Fecal flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/16/04. By A.S.]

 

Hookworm (Ancylostoma sp.) egg

hookworm egg

        This hookworm egg (probably Ancylostoma caninum) was isolated from a soil sample from a local animal shelter's lawn, where the area is frequently used for dog exercise. This egg measures ~81x42 Ám. 

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/21/04. By A.S.]

 

Hookworm (Ancylostoma sp.) egg with a developed larva inside

hookworm egg

        This hookworm egg (probably Ancylostoma caninum), with a moving larva inside, was isolated from a soil sample from a local animal shelter's lawn, where the area is frequently used for dog exercise.  This egg measures ~69x44Ám.

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/21/04. By A.S.]

 

Suspected dog hookworm larva (L1)

hookworm larva

        This possible L1 (rhabditiform) hookworm larva was isolated from a soil sample heavily contaminated with hookworm eggs, from a lawn of a local dog shelter. Approximate length: 300 Ám. Notice the long buccal (mouth) cavity as is expected for an L1 hookworm larva. The larval stage 1 (L1) worm is a "free-living" form (i.e., not parasitic), and is not yet capable of infecting a host animal. It molts to become an L2 and then L3 worm.

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/21/04. By A.S.]

 

Definitive dog hookworm larva (L1)

hookworm larva

        A less than 24 hours old L1 larva of dog hookworm (most likely Ancylostoma caninum). The egg came from a soil sample originating in a lawn at a local dog shelter. The characteristic hookworm eggs were harvested with a flotation technique, then a single egg was separated and kept under watch until it hatched. The larva was very active, making a well-focused photograph near impossible to obtain. It is hard to tell from this photograph, but it has a longish buccal cavity and a pointed tail end, as are expected for the L1 hookworm larva. 

        Seen in this photograph is the bulb-shaped esophagus that is a sign of rhabditiform L1 and L2 larvae; it is not seen in the L3 larva below.  The asymmetrical structure seen roughly 1/4 body length from the tip of tail is the genital primordium. (Various references note that human hookworm L1 larva has relatively inconspicuous genital primordium, but it doesn't seem to apply very well to Ancylostoma caninum as the g.p. seems fairly noticeable here.) 

        The magnification of the photo is identical to the one used for the suspected dog hookworm larva photo above.  The difference in overall color is due to use of a color-correction filter.

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Photo date: 10/6/04. By A.S.]

 

Suspected dog hookworm larva (L3)

hookworm larva

        This possible/probable L3 (filariform) hookworm larva was isolated from a soil sample heavily contaminated with hookworm eggs, taken from a lawn of a local dog shelter.  The larval stage 3 (L3) larva infects a host primarily by skin penetration. 

        On the microscope slide the worm was very active, thrashing about.  Notice that the esophagus length is about 1/4 of the body length, and the tip of tail is pointed, not notched, both characteristics of hookworm L3 larva. Length: ~485 Ám. 

        Flotation with centrifugation (Sheather's sugar solution) [Date: 9/21/04. By A.S.]

 

Western Black-legged Tick (Ixodes pacificus) - adult female

Western Black-legged Tick

        This adult female Western Black-legged Tick (Ixodes pacificus) was removed from a dog at a San Francisco Bay Area animal shelter.  (This one measures ~ 7 mm from head to the tip of the blood-engorged abdomen. In spite of its common name, the dark parts of this specimen bear a very slight reddish tint, as opposed to pure black, examined under a very good light.) 

        Western Black-legged Tick is best known as the vector of Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, primarily in the western coastal states of the United States (although these ticks could transmit a few other diseases too).  For Lyme disease, the eastern-half of the U.S. has a similar but different vector species Black-legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis), a.k.a. Deer Tick.

        Dogs, cats and other animals can contract Lyme disease as do humans. Fortunately, the transmission of the bacteria is thought to require a prolonged attachment to the host for this slow-feeding tick - usually 36 hours or more that it takes for the bacteria to travel from the tick's midgut to salivary glands in sufficient numbers. So performing daily "tick checks" on yourself and your animals could reduce the risk of contracting this disease.  (Note, however, that the ticks in their larval and nymphal stages are much tinier than the engorged adult female pictured above.) 

        If you find a tick, remove it carefully and gently by pulling it - do not squash it.  Squashing the tick could expose you to the bacteria living in the midgut of the tick. Not all tick species can carry this bacteria, and not all ticks of the vector species carry it. If you think a tick could have exposed you or your animal to the bacteria, preserving the tick would allow a later testing of the tick for presence of the bacteria, which could help rule in or out Lyme disease in case suggestive symptoms appear later on. (Both live and dead specimens can be tested, but live ones can be tested more easily and cheaply. Ask your doctor or veterinarian. Some universities and local government agencies offer free species identification and testing services, at least when exposure to a human is suspected. Otherwise, in the Bay Area, a private lab can run a PCR-based test on a dead tick for you for ~$55.)

         [Specimen collection on 12/16/04. Photographed on 12/20/04. By A.S.]

 

Ear Mite (Otodectes cynotis)

        The ventral view of an adult female ear mite (Otodectos cynotis), which was collected from the ear of a domestic cat named "Shilo". This one measures 0.46 mm from the head to rear. At this size, it was just barely visible with naked eyes under very good lighting. A male would be slightly smaller.

        Temporary glycerin mount. [Date: 4/29/06. By A.S.]

 

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All photographs above ę 2003-2006 Akira So. All Rights Reserved. 

Please contact the photographer for usage permission. (Free of charge for non-commercial uses. Larger image sizes are available.)

Last modified: 04/30/2006