A Dangerous Worm:
Spirocerca Lupi Awareness Campaign
|There is a nasty worm that is causing more disease and death in dogs in our country, and vets are seeing it more commonly in our area. Its name is Spirocerca Lupi, less affectionately known as Slupi.
It can cause various forms of illness as well but most worryingly, sudden death!
There are big gaps in information about the worm currently, and lots of research is still being done. Slupi is not affected by routine de-worming. There are some treatments available for your dogs that should help to prevent effects of the worm, and we recommend that you make use of them. Our current recommendation for parasite control for an adult dog is:
Milbemax dewormer tablets monthly; treating worms, including helping prevent Spirocerca Lupi, and
Bravecto tablets treating ticks and fleas every 3 months
Some more information about Slupi
Juvenile Slupis live in the aorta (a very large artery near the heart) and then travel to the oesophagus (food pipe) to mature to adults.
From their home in the wall of the oesophagus, the adult female lays 10000s of eggs a day, which pass out in the dog's faeces.
Dung beetles busy in the dog poo, eat the faeces (containing the eggs) while they are busy rolling it (The dung beetles come in many shapes and sizes, not just the Tok-tokkies that usually spring to mind).
The dung beetles are then eaten by our dogs, and the cycle begins again.
Because of where the worms live in our dogs' bodies, some of the main symptoms we will see are retching, vomiting and coughing, but the list of possibilities is much longer than this! Sudden death can be caused by the aorta bursting due to damage by the juvenile Slupi.
Currently only Milbemax and Advocate are registered to help with prevention of Spirocerca Lupi.