Home>702Times>Mystery of the Sick Dogs Solved: Parasite Traced to Colorado River

Mystery of the Sick Dogs Solved: Parasite Traced to Colorado River

By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, March 16, 2024 4:39 pm

For five years, a mysterious illness plagued dogs in Southern California. The culprit? Not another animal, but a parasite called the liver fluke lurking in the Colorado River near Blythe.

A Baffling Case:

  • 11 dogs from Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties fell ill between 2018 and 2023.
  • Symptoms included loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and liver issues.
  • The dogs’ owners had one thing in common: all had visited the Colorado River near Blythe.

The Elusive Culprit:

  • Professor Dillman and his team at UC Riverside identified the culprit as Heterobilharzia americana, a flatworm native to the South.
  • This marked the parasite’s first documented appearance in the California section of the Colorado River.

Transmission and Treatment:

  • The parasite transmits through snails found in the river.
  • Canine schistosomiasis, the disease caused by the parasite, can be fatal if untreated.
  • Antiparasitic drugs like praziquantel and fenbendazole can be effective.

The Mystery Deepens:

  • How the snails carrying the parasite arrived in California remains unknown.
  • Researchers suspect a possible connection to a 2018 outbreak in Moab, Utah, near the Colorado River.

Raising Awareness:

  • Public health officials urge dog owners to be aware of the parasite and its associated illness.
  • A simple fecal test can diagnose canine schistosomiasis.
  • If your dog experiences concerning symptoms after swimming in the Colorado River, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Protecting Our Pets:

  • By understanding the threat and taking precautions, we can help keep our canine companions safe.

Credits: Review Journal

Copyright 2024 702 Times, NV Globe. All rights reserved

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