The Silent Killer: Spirocerca Lupi

Spirocerca Lupi also known as the worm that kills.  Most commonly affects dogs and are often diagnosed too late.

In the earliest stages of infection, dogs may present with vomiting, or HAVE NO SYMPTOMS whatsoever. Later on, one obvious problem is in swallowing. Sometimes, dogs will vomit, retch or regurgitate. Other times, it may be subtler and go unseen. Dogs may just have no appetite; lick their lips; cry when swallowing; “cough” or “retch”; extend the neck; salivate; have diarrhea; salivation; or submandibular lymphadenomegaly. Some dogs just lose weight but continue eating. Other patients may appear to present with polyarthritis (immune-mediated); vague, sometimes severe generalised or localised pain (even over the lumbar region).

Suggested treatments for Spirocercosis include:

  • Advocate (Bayer; Imidocloprid + Moxidectin) – once weekly for 6 – 12 weeks
  • Milbemax (Novartis; Milbemycin Oxime + Praziquantel) – once weekly for 4 – 12 weeks

Unlicensed treatments include the use of weekly doramectin or ivermectin injections.

For prevention; treatment with dormectin can be administered.

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