Dog tapeworm


Echinococcosis, more popularly known as canine tapeworm, is a parasitic disease caused by the larvae of the Echinococcus tapeworm. This parasite has three forms , which affect humans Echinococcus granulosus, E. multilocularis, and E. Vogeli and each of these forms has a different geographic distribution and causes different forms of the disease.

E. granulosus is spread precisely in our region, where dogs are a huge population, and causes the appearance of single-chamber cysts.

E. multilocularis is found in high mountain, subarctic or arctic regions including central and northern Europe, the USA, Canada and in Asia and causes a lung disease known as alveolar echinococcosis.

E. Vogeli is distributed only in Central and South America and causes polycystic echinococcosis.
Since in Bulgaria the majority of cases are of the cystic form of the parasitosis, below we will focus on it.

How easily can we become infected?

People who ingest the eggs of Echinococcus granulosus are at serious risk of infection. Dogs that eat home-slaughtered sheep and other livestock can become infected with the tapeworm and its eggs are then passed out in the dog’s feces.

Direct contact with infected dogs, especially in very close contact of children with their pets, can lead to human infection. Unintentional ingestion of soil, water or vegetables contaminated with infected dog feces can become the cause of infection.

Canine tapeworm eggs are extremely resistant and can survive snow and cold temperatures.
People can become infected with tapeworm eggs by transferring the contamination from their hands to their mouth.

• By ingesting food, water or soil contaminated with the feces of tapeworm-infected dogs. These can be herbs, vegetables or fruits collected from the ground.
• When petting in dogs infected with E. granulosus, because they pass the tapeworm eggs in their feces, their fur may also be contaminated.

What are the symptoms?

The appearance of the disease is related to the growth of tapeworm larvae in the body. Initially, the parasites pierce the intestinal wall and settle in the liver or lungs, where the body isolates them by forming a shell around them, thus forming the cyst.

Since these formations grow very slowly, the infected person may not have any complaints for years. It is not uncommon for the worming to occur in childhood, but to be discovered when the affected person is already 50 years old and older.

Even recently there was a case in Bulgaria where the disease was mistaken for cancer, and doctors thought that the cysts were metastases and for 10 years the patient waited for his death until they discovered that the metastases were actually echinococcal cysts.

After passing the latent phase of the disease, the infected may feel pain or discomfort in the upper abdominal area or chest, often feel nausea and vomiting as a result of the growing cysts. The bursting of the cyst and leakage of the liquid from it can lead to a severe allergic reaction, shock and even death.

What should we do if we think we may have contracted cystic echinococcosis?

Consult with your doctor who will prescribe tests. Echinococcal cysts are detected during imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound or computed tomography.

Treatment of canine tapeworm

Until recently, surgery was the only and not so effective method of treatment. But already medications such as albendazole and mebendazole and a modified surgical procedure /aspiration/, which in its essence is a puncture, during which a percutaneous injection of a scolicidal solution is performed into the cyst, which destroys it and complete healing occurs.< /p>

These treatment methods are increasingly replacing surgical interventions to remove cysts.

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