The problem with stray dogs, especially in larger cities is not new. We are still trying to solve it and without much of success, but many of us underestimate quite how dangerous it is for our children’s health the uncontrolled coexistence on playgrounds and lawns of children and dogs. Let’s mention a big danger – dog tapeworm /echinococcosis/. What is it and why is it so dangerous?
Echinococcosis is a dangerous disease caused by the parasite – dog tapeworm /Echnococus granulosus/. A major source of contamination for people is dog. There are many ways a person can become infected with canine tapeworm. This happens most often when a person is in direct contact (fondling, hugging) with a dog, which has the tapeworm parasite. Other common cases of illness are by eating vegetables that are not washed well and are contaminated with tapeworm eggs. Another common case is when kids hands touch contaminated grass and was not washed well. Last two ways of infecting explain why there are people suffering from this parasite without having a dog for a pet.
Children are very vulnerable, because their hygiene habits are not built yet and they can easily become infected with canine tapeworm.
Once in the human digestive system, embryos pass through blood. They strike most often the liver, secondly lungs and possibly all other organs. They develop one or more blisters called hydatid cysts. They grow slowly and may reach sizes of children’s head. Man suffering from dog tapeworm is not contagious and dangerous to others. This disease can develop for years and without any complaints at all. In most cases of dog tapeworm disease, it is discovered accidentally when testing /ultrasonography, radiography, computer tomografiya- scanner/ done for another occasion. The following symptoms are possible with dog tapeworm disease – skin rash, fatigue, heaviness or mild pain in the injured body fatigue.
Very often echinococcosis manifests clinically directly with the development of serious complications such as rupture /tear/ cyst and development of anaphylactic shock, including death and scattering by the formation of multiple hydatid bubbles in the abdominal cavity, liver, lungs, brain and other organs. Multiple cysts can develop in one or several organs and without rupture when the person has swallowed many eggs once or periodically. Hydatid cysts can get infected and purulence. This is manifested by severe clinical picture – fever, chills, extreme fatigue, pain in the affected organ.
Treatment of dog tapeworm is mainly surgical.
When contraindications to surgery /operation are inappropriate for cases of ruptured cyst, recurrence, multiple organs affected or multiple еchinococcosis/ conservative treatment is applied. Chemotherapy is also recommended after surgical treatment to prevent recurrence of the disease. Conservative treatment is not always safe and it is best to be started at a hospital.
How the dog gets infected with tapeworm?
The dog is infected with tapeworm while eating raw internal organs of infected animals /sheep, pigs, cattle and others/. Hundreds of tapeworms release eggs in his intestines. They fall with the fecals in the environment, but they can cling on the dogs fur. The most dangerous are the sheepdogs.
To protect your dog from the tapeworm, you need to feed it only with cooked food, that went through sanitary control. Prophylactic administration of drugs is necessary every 2-3 months.
By preventing your dog from contracting tapeworm, you protect yourself and your loved ones.
How to prevent infection with dog tapeworm?
If we want to prevent infection with dog tapeworm, we must follow these rules:
- Frequent washing of hands with soap and water, especially if you have contact with pets whether they are ours or not.
- In no case you should touch homeless and stray dogs.
- You should not take your kids to places available for stray animals.
- Fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating, especially those that grow close to the ground.
- And the most important is to know that dogs in any case should not eat raw guts and should be de-wormed with medications each 2-3 months.
- After walking outside, you must wash the paws of your pet with soap and water.
All that sounds pretty grim right? So we would say all so called environmentalists who advocate aggressive stray dogs that children are immeasurably more important than them, and the city is not ecological zone and is not part of nature. The place of the dogs is not on the streets and playgrounds.