Echinococcosis (Echinococcus spp.)

Echinococcosis (Echinococcus SPP.) in Dogs

Echinococcosis is not very common in the United States but it can cause several complications. Tiny Echinococcus tapeworms are the major reason behind this disease. Meanwhile, adult Echinococcus tapeworms are only present in dogs and related animals. However,  Echinococcus larvae can cause infection in people. 

How it spreads : Echinococcosis eggs are found in the dogs’ poop or stool. People get infected with this parasite by consuming or drinking food, contaminated due to the poop of an infected animal. This disease is also spread due to touching the dog’s fur–having the parasite’s eggs. Dogs can also suffer from Echinococcosis by eating the tissue of infected goats or sheep. 

Who is at risk : This disease can infect anyone but people working closely with farm animals or living in areas, where parasites are common and are more prone to catch the infection. Echinococcus is most commonly found in Central and South America, Europe,  Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and rarely in North America.

Signs in dogs : Most of the time no signs or symptoms appear in the infected dogs. However, in case of having an infection due to a large number of tapeworms, dogs can have a shaggy coat, mild diarrhea, a variable appetite, or irritability.

Symptoms in people : Just like dogs, people also may not show any sign of illness for years. However, the Echinococcus larvae can affect any body’s organ and symptoms largely depend on the location of the cyst. Signs of illness start appearing when the cysts become large or rupture. Most commonly, cysts grow in the lungs and liver.