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California Has Now Confirmed the Existence of a Parasite that Kills Dogs: Indicators to Be Aware Of!


CNS NewsAuthorities in east Riverside County have confirmed the presence of a deadly parasite known to harm dogs. Over the past five years, ten dogs were injured, and another was killed by an elusive tormentor. The victims hailed from Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties. Despite the suspect’s alibi of never visiting California, a key detail linking the abuser with the abused was discovered—time spent at the Colorado River near Blythe.

A team led by Professor Adler R. Dillman from UC Riverside’s Department of Nematology recently identified the parasite responsible for the illness of these dogs. The parasite, Heterobilharzia americana, commonly known as liver fluke, normally inhabits Texas and the South. Its discovery in California marks its first recorded appearance in the area.

The team made four trips to the Colorado River between March and August of 2023, collecting over 2,000 snails of two species known to transmit the worms—Galba Cubensis and Galba Humilis. Using DNA analysis, they confirmed the presence of both snails and the flatworm.

Symptoms of canine schistosomiasis, caused by this parasite, include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and signs of liver disease such as increased thirst, the need to urinate, and yellowish eyes. If a dog exhibits these symptoms after swimming in the Colorado River, a fecal test is recommended by veterinarians as a precaution.

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The parasite, while harmful to dogs, cannot be transmitted to humans. It has also been known to infect raccoons and horses. Treatment for infected dogs includes antiparasitic drugs such as praziquantel and fenbendazole.

This discovery underscores the importance of raising awareness among dog owners about the signs and risks associated with this parasite. Public health agencies are working to inform the public about this threat and the measures that can be taken to protect pets.

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