The Less Common Parasites

Some parasites that are not commonly found in our dogs can still cause serious health problems. Some of these parasites have geographical limitations, and others require certain hosts. While small in numbers, their effects can be big.


Capillaria is a roundworm that prefers lungs to intestines. This parasite affects dogs and foxes. Larvae head right to the lungs, where they develop and remain as adults. Dogs with this parasite may cough and have chronic bronchial irritation. This parasite is diagnosed when eggs are found in the feces. (Eggs are passed into airways by the adult roundworm. Dogs cough them up and sometimes swallow them.)

Fluke Infestation

In northern areas of the Midwest and north central Canada, dogs may come in contact with the fluke parasite known as Paragonimus. This fluke is passed into fresh water through mink feces. The larvae then get into freshwater snails and crustaceans. Dogs that eat snails or freshwater crustaceans (even by accident) may pick up this parasite. If the fluke migrates to the brain, it is virtually impossible to treat, but most often this parasite causes no problem. Normally it ends up elsewhere and dies on its own without causing a great deal of trouble. Still, it is best to keep your dog from snail hunting!

The Salmon Fluke

Another fluke, this one aiming for the intestines, is Nanophyetus salminocola. salmon. This disease is seen in dogs that live in the Northwest and eat raw salmon. While the fluke itself is not especially harmful, it may carry a will have a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea and may even die. Treatment is intensive and usually requires hospitalization. Certainly, it makes sense to avoid feeding raw fish.

What are rickettsia?

Rickettsia are a group of microorganisms that fit somewhere in between bacteria and viruses. These tiny particles of trouble often cause diseases. Many of them are transmitted through the bites of arthropods such as fleas, but even parasites such as flukes may carry harmful rickettsia.

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