Echinococcus granulosus

What is an echinococcus?

It is a flatworm whose adult is a parasite of foxes or dogs, and, more rarely, of cats. Echinococcus are not very dangerous for our little companions, but their larval form can cause a serious disease in humans, echinococcosis.
There are 2 species of echinococci, the one we are going to talk about today is: Echinococcus multilocularis. This species is found throughout the northern half of France and in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
The adult is a fox parasite. Its microscopic eggs are hidden in the feces of foxes, and can be deposited on plants, wild berries, soil, and even garden vegetables. The eggs of the parasite are ingested by small rodents, such as voles. The parasites then form cysts in the liver. Foxes in turn become infected by eating infected rodents. Dogs and cats that hunt can become infected in the same way. The eggs are dangerous for humans because the parasite will attack the liver. Ingestion of eggs can happen by eating contaminated berries or vegetables or if you put your dirty hands in your mouth.

Geographical distribution of E. multilocularis in Europe

Precautions to take

  • Do not eat wild berries and vegetables without first washing them, and preferably eat them cooked. Note: freezing at -20°C is not enough to destroy echinococcus eggs.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after gardening or petting your dog.
  • Do not handle fox corpses.
  • Do not feed dogs raw organ meats.
  • Deworm dogs exposed to the parasite every 4 to 6 weeks with a product effective against echinococcus
  • Deworm dogs that have traveled to high-risk areas during the vacations.

Echinococcal cysts in the liver and lung of a sheep.

Tous les vermifuges ne sont pas efficaces face aux échinocoques

For more information

You can visit the ESCCAP website

You can call our Veterinary Assistants and make an appointment for a consultation on 02/3802492.