We received a question about worms found in a dog food dish from a reader not long ago. The reader wasn’t sure if the worms in the dog food dish (actually, it is a puppy food dish) were parasitic worms; in fact, the reader isn’t even sure that they are worms at all. He speculated that they might instead be insect larva (or larvae – we’re not sure how many creatures we are dealing with), which is definitely a reasonable idea because so many larvae are worm-like in appearance. (This is why larvae are so commonly confused with worms.) The reader was merely wondering what the worms in the dog food dish (or larvae in the dog food dish) are, presumably not only because he is curious, but also because he doesn’t want his puppy eating parasitic worms, like tapeworms, for instance. What are the worms (or larvae) he found in the dog food dish?
In connection to his question, the reader sent us this picture:
This is a confusing picture, and we aren’t sure how to make sense of it. The reader refers to a single worm or larva in his email, so we’re evidently dealing with a single entity. Although we can’t be sure, it appears that this is a magnified image, one perhaps taken through a microscope. Indeed, the background color looks like the stage of a microscope. If you look at the upper left side of the picture, you will see some sort of translucent object that almost appears to be out of focus. This is consistent with a “wet mount,” a process that involves taking a specimen to examine under a microscope (such as feces to look for parasite eggs), and then putting a few drops of a solution over it. When this is done, it is possible to focus on different debris at varying depths of the wet mount, kind of like when you are focusing a camera. As you adjust the lens of a microscope, certain things come into focus and then go out of focus.
This is all we can tell, however, because it isn’t at all clear what this magnified image depicts. So, we are opening up this question to our readers. If you are familiar with examining microscope slides, perhaps you can hazard a guess as to what our reader found. We want to help the reader and his dog, especially because he thought a parasitic worm might be in the dog’s food dish, meaning the dog could easily ingest it, which may lead to problems. However, we simply don’t have any answers, so please leave comments below if have any suggestions. In any case, and as always, if you are concerned that something might be affecting your pet or your pet’s health, it is best to check in with your veterinarian.
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