Dogs bring parasites into the house


Dogs bring parasites into the house

Returning from a walk, domestic dogs and their owners bring the parasitic worms Toxocara into the house.

In addition to diseases that occur due to bacteria and viruses, there are also a large number of diseases caused by parasitic protozoa and helminths – various parasitic worms. In turn, these parasites very often come to us from animals, including pets. For example, parasitic roundworms called toxocara live as adults in the intestines of dogs and cats.

If Toxocara eggs get into a person, the larvae that hatch from them can pass through the intestinal wall into the blood and scatter throughout the body. This is how larva migrans syndrome arises, that is, migratory larva syndrome; the most severe cases occur when the larvae enter the eyes or brain. In humans, Toxocara does not develop into adults, but can remain alive in larval form for a very long time, leading to a chronic disease.

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Children are at particular risk here. In the United States, according to statistics, about 14% of children are infected with toxocariasis at various stages of their lives; in developing countries this figure can reach 80 percent or more. You can become infected with Toxocara in the same way as many other parasites: through dirty hands, through unwashed vegetables and fruits, through contact with animals. Moreover, the animal itself may not necessarily have a parasite inside. The main source of infection with Toxocara eggs is soil. Therefore, it is easy to imagine how a completely healthy dog ​​or cat, after walking outside, brings a parasite into the house. And this applies to a greater extent to dogs, since they need to be walked regularly.

Employees of the All-Russian Research Institute of Fundamental and Applied Parasitology of Animals and Plants named after K.I. Scriabin (VNIIP) compared how contaminated the paws of dogs, the shoes of their owners, as well as the shoes of people who do not keep dogs, are with Toxocara eggs. Over the course of a year, dirt was washed off from dogs’ paws and shoes after walks and they were examined for the presence of parasites; The dogs were specially selected to have no toxocara in their intestines. An article in Veterinary Parasitology states that Toxocara eggs were found on dogs’ paws 19.4% of the time, and Toxocara eggs were found on their owner’s shoes 11.4% of the time. But people who don’t have dogs have never gotten toxocara on their shoes. This can be explained by the fact that dog owners usually walk with their pets in places where the soil contains Toxocara eggs.

In other words, dog paws may be one of the most likely routes of infection for these parasites. Of course, in order to understand exactly how much toxocara on the paws contribute to the epidemiological picture of toxocariasis, additional research is needed. However, those dog owners who regularly wash their pets’ paws are undoubtedly doing the right thing.

The work was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (RSF).

Based on materials from the press service of the Russian Science Foundation.

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Fred Richardson

a computer enthusiast with an insatiable appetite for problem-solving. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science in 2010, he embarked on a lifelong journey of exploring the intricacies of technology. For the past 25 years, Fred has dedicated himself to building custom PCs, mastering the art of hardware and software integration. With a deep-rooted belief in the power of coding, he has sought to unravel the complexities of life's challenges through lines of programming. From the early days of DOS 3.3 to the present, Fred has been a steadfast support for users, utilizing his knowledge to assist and guide others in navigating the ever-changing world of technology.