A Little Info on Pop Music and Worms

Is anybody else creeped out by the “Kidz Bop” series of CD’s?  To anyone who doesn’t have Nickelodeon or Disney Channel playing incessantly in their home (people with no kids or who actually have those elusive magical kids who “don’t watch TV”)  Kidz Bop features young kids dancing and singing their version of recent pop hits.   First of all, I’m not comfortable with the screechy kid voices belting out  such classics “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls.   Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against The Pussycat Dolls, I even like the song…but watching little girls writhe around (look up from whatever you are doing when the commercial comes on…they got moves like adult Brittney..only they’re like 7) singing about how boys think their sexy and they want to grow up and be in movies, drive nice cars, and have groupies (honestly, I thought the lyric was “boobies”, but I just looked it up…)..is just creepy to me.  Pussycat Dolls started out as a burlesque group.  I reeealllllly don’t want to come across like an ol’ fuddy duddy, and I’m sure the songs are somewhat censored, but  what kind of message is this stuff sending to our girls? 

The album also contains the Pink song “So What”, which my 4 year old refers to as the “Na Na Na Song”.   At least Pink advocates the importance of having a brain (personally, I think she’s super cool and awesome), but again, the little screechy voices singing about having lost her husband  and drinking her money just weirds me out.  (Although it’s funny when Perry, the 4 year old belts out “I wanna start a fight”).   I’m just not sure little kids should be dancing like grownups and singing their songs. 

They’re on album #15, so I guess people obviously love it.  I’m pretty much going to stick to the real versions of the music that they play on the radio.  It makes it past basic censors, doesn’t sound like a little choir of hobbits on helium.   The kids can decide on their own what they like and don’t like and maybe appreciate real (that’s open to interperetation) music on their own.  (my kids current favorite song is “Somebody Told Me” by the Killers…maybe that’s on Kidz Bop 14…)

So anyways…on to vet stuff.  I was giving my dogs their heartworm pills yesterday and figured that would be a decent topic for you guys.  FYI:  heartworms, hookworms, ringworms all end in “worm”, but only 2 of these are actually worms, and only one is found in the poop. 

Ringworm is a fungus.  I get that question ALOT.  There is probably a Wickipedia article on why it’s called a worm, but I’m not going to look it up at this time (Pussycat Dolls are much more interesting).  Ringworm is contagious to humans, I’ve had it 3 or 4 times from different patients, but I think I’ve built up some immunity because I haven’t had it in years (watch, I’ll come down with it tomorrow). 

Hookworms are little intestinal parasites, wormy in shape (they are actual worms) that are the vampires of the parasite family.  They live in the intestines of the dog (thus are found in poop)  and suck their blood, occasionally causing anemia (particularly in puppies).  They can be contagious to humans.  Incidentally, that’s pretty much why dogs aren’t allowed on the beach.  If they poop on the sand, and have hooks, the larvae will emerge and they infect people by penetrating their skin.  Hence, the most common site of infection for beach going humans are the buttocks and feet (it causes a series of linear sores called “cutaneous larval migrans).  Gross eh?  By the way, heartworm preventative prevents hookworms, and their evil counterparts roundworm and whipworm)

Heart worms, on the other hand are not generally contagious to humans (there are a few cases, mostly in immunosupressed people).  They do NOT live in the stool, and won’t be diagnosed on a fecal test (you have to do a blood test).  Their babies live in the blood, the adults in the heart.  Cats AND dogs can get heartworms.   They are big worms, I compare them to angel hair pasta (sorry, for the squeamish out there).  Once adults reach the heart, they sit there, taking up space, interfering with the hearts function, and causing irritation to the lungs.  Dogs and Cats get heartworms from mosquitoes (they inject baby heartworms into the pets during a blood meal)

 The most common symptom in dogs is generally weight loss, cough, heart failure.  Cats tend to develop Heartworm associated respiratory syndrome (HARDS is the acronym the drug company folks have come up with)…which amounts to basically asthma symptoms, or they drop dead unexpectedly.  Since cats are smaller than dogs overall, it takes fewer worms to get them sick.  Some studies out of A&M cite that 25% of all cats (including indoor ones) have been exposed to heartworms in their life, 10% of those might show symptoms. 

The American Heartworm Society website has boocoos of information about the little devils:  http://www.heartwormsociety.org/

Heartworms are MUCH easier to prevent than to treat.  Prevention involves administering a monthly preventative (there was one that was a shot that lasted 6 months, that got pulled off the market due to strange and deadly side effects.  It’s back, but we’re still leery).   

Preventatives range all over the place in price and range of parasite killing  abilities.  Of the stuff we carry:  Heartgard and Interceptor are the cheapest.  They ONLY prevent heartworms and intestinal parasites.  I like Heartgard personally, primarily because it’s really easy to give (it’s a beef flavored chewy yummy treat) but Interceptor is equally effective.   Sentinel, is a more expensive pill, it prevents HW, and intestinal worms and helps control flea infestations by sterilizing the adults so their eggs won’t hatch (it does nothing to kill adult fleas).  Revolution is another product, it’s applied topically to the skin and it kills adult fleas, some ticks, ear mites, mange mites, and the major intestinal parasites.

As far as heartworm prevention goes, they all do the same thing; and this is the important fact for you folks:   THESE DRUGS DO NOT STAY IN THE PET FOR A MONTH.  The way they work is that over the course of the month, the mosquitoes bite the pets, and inject the worms.  The worms go through multiple life stages  (sort of like maturing from a baby to a teenager) over the next 30 days.  Only during that roughly 30 day period, will heartworm preventative work (think of heartworm preventative as a shotgun blast that’s in the body for the day commiting mass murder of young, juvenile delinquent, mean, heartworms).  IF the babies mature past the “teenager” phase, the preventative won’t kill them, and they will grow up to be adults and infect the heart.  Thus it’s important to give that preventative every 30 days to kill the stuff they were infected with the previous month. 

If the larvae grow to adults, then we have to then do the adulticide treatment, which, very briefly consists of a series of injections in the lumbar (back) muscles with a drug called Immiticide, which is an Arsenic derived compound.  As a totally non-professional opinion:  I HATE giving these shots, because you have to use an inch and a half long needle in the BACK and it just “oogs” me out.  So, don’t forget to give your heartworm prevention EVERY MONTH ALL YEAR ‘ROUND (this recommendation is variable in the great white north, where a serious hard solid winter will kill mosquitoes, here in the grand ol’ South, the ‘skeeters around all year). 

Immiticide is for DOGS only, it will kill a cat.  Thus, we really can’t treat cat heartworms at all, so their best protection is preventative. 

That’s it for now.  If you’re interested in more heartworm info, let me know.


…….And so what, I’m still a rock star, I’ve got my rock moves, and I don’t need you……na na na na na na na bla bla bla….


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