When we think about parasites that infect our pets, many of us believe them to be completely treatable. Indeed, while some parasites are easier to eradicate, some parasites are very difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate. One such parasite is called Echinococcus multilocularis (EM), a species of tapeworm that affects our pets and us and is almost always fatal! EM is shed in infected animal feces. This is particularly worrisome for our pets that ingest stools, hunt or eat carcasses, rub their bodies on grass, or even eat raw diets. Once consumed, EM creates cysts inside the body where micro tapeworms grow until they eventually burst out. The result is a fatal allergic reaction.
The incubation period (the moment of exposure to the presence of the first signs of infection) is between 5-15 years and often isn’t detected until the cysts rupture. Sounds scary, right? It is! The Ontario Animal Health Network confirmed the presence of EM in southern and eastern Ontario in 2016 and believe this insidious parasite will continue to wreak havoc. This highlights the importance of preventive (as opposed to reactive) measures. Please contact our clinic to learn more about how to protect you and your fur family from this fatal parasite!