Our expert says:
Spirocerca is a common parasite of domestic dogs and wild carnivores. Animal are infected through the ingestion of the dung beetle as well as mice, hedgehogs, lizards, birds and rabbits. Following ingestion the larvae go from the stomach and eventually into the oesophagus where the worm matures in nodules. Clinically the condition can vary depending on the stage of the disease. You can get oesophageal disease - vomiting, weight loss, regurgitation, salivation etc. Other signs may include coughing, enlargement of the salivary glands, pyrexia and chronic anemia. Roughly 2-12% of cases present as acute deaths following migration of the larva through the aorta. Diagnosis is confirmed with the aid eggs in faecal material, x-rays and endoscopy. The current treatment in SA is the use of Doramectin or Advocate.
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