Fatal Dog Parasite Spreading Across The U.S.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

(PartiallyPolitics.com) – A new study from the University of California has discovered in the Colorado River in Southern California a parasite, known as the liver fluke, which could potentially kill dogs. 

Heterobilharzia americana, the parasite in question, was previously commonly found in Gulf states and Texas but it has been making its way West. UC Riverside nematology professor Adler Dillman noted that the infection caused by this parasite could lead to dogs dying which is why they were aiming to increase public awareness about it. He added that these were a danger to anyone swimming in the Colorado River.  

School researchers traveled to Blythe, California, which shares a border with Arizona to collect samples from the Colorado River. A total of 2,000 snails were tested on the banks after a number of dog infections had been reported from dogs that had swam in the waters. 

The study noted that according to their findings, there was a “wider distribution” of the parasite than previous reports which could have an effect on biodiversity and public health. They noted that they would be looking to develop strategies that would allow them to reduce the spread of the infectious disease. 

The study authors pointed out that this is the first time that they have found the parasite on the Colorado River shores and that currently two snail species were infected. This is an important finding as it marks the westernmost record of the North American schistosome in the United States. The parasite is endemic to the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast of North America having been found in several states including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Tennessee.

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