Climate change also affects animals. A dog parasite is spreading in Central Europe

Climate change also affects animals. A dog parasite is spreading in Central Europe
Climate change also affects animals. A dog parasite is spreading in Central Europe
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In the countries of Central Europe, there is an increase in cases of so-called cardiac dirofilariasis. It is a disease where, after being bitten by a mosquito that infects the dog with the germs of the parasite, worms nest in the animal’s lungs, which gradually travel to the heart. Its spread is monitored by epidemiologists in Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

From an infected dog, the parasite can spread further – to the organisms of other dogs. Dirofilariasis can very rarely infect a person.

The infection often has no obvious symptoms. Sometimes we can observe shortness of breath after activity accompanied by coughing or greater fatigue in dogs. In such a case, the disease is already in an advanced stage. That is why it is advisable to take a blood test at least once a year, which can catch the disease before clinical symptoms appear,” advises Martina Miterpáková from the Institute of Parasitology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Košice.

The treatment consists of repeated injections of a substance that kills the adult worms in the dog’s body. “The main risk of the treatment is that a large number of killed parasites can cause the formation of blood clots – thromboembolism,” explains Andrea Štusáková from the VET-S veterinary practice in Litomyšl, where she deals mainly with cardiology patients.

The spread of parasites is primarily a consequence of climate change, which favors mosquitoes. Due to rising temperatures, they migrate and new species begin to appear even in countries where they were not previously found. And with new mosquitoes come new diseases.

South Africa, Australia and the United States are most at risk of infection, but in recent years it has also been moving to countries with colder climates. In Europe, it is widespread mainly in Greece, Spain, Italy and Hungary.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Climate change affects animals dog parasite spreading Central Europe

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