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What is Dog Trichinosis?

Dog trichinosis is an infection caused by a parasite known as Trichinella spiralis. This condition can be nowadays rather easily prevented by following certain guidelines.

The larvae of this parasite live in pork, therefore, if your dog eats pork, it is possible for him or her to become infected. 

However, the good news is that trichinosis has become a relatively rare disease considering that farmed pigs are treated with antiparasitic medication before being butchered and sold to the general population, points out veterinarian Dr. Peter.

Trichinosis has therefore become an exceedingly uncommon disease in the US. 

 Trichinella larvae will die when cooked, so the first step in the preventive process is to prevent your dog's exposure to raw meat.

Symptoms of Trichinosis in Dogs

As mentioned, this parasite can be transmitted through the ingestion of undercooked meat. 

The worms live in the dog's intestine for up to two months before emerging as adult worms. Female larvae migrate to the skeletal muscle and develop an encyst.

Symptoms of trichinosis in dogs include abdominal upset, diarrhea, fatigue and muscle inflammation. Other symptoms include short-breathing, extreme thirst, and fever.

While these symptoms don't typically cause much concern in healthy dogs, things can get become more serious in puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems.

 Generally, the disease will clear up on its own within a few months, but sometimes the symptoms can last for months or even years. 

Diagnosis of Trichinosis in Dogs

Diagnosis of trichinosis in dogs requires a combination of history, physical exam, and laboratory testing. A complete blood count may reveal a high level of eosinophils, special white blood cells produced as a response to parasitic infections and allergies.

 A specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test can further aid in the the diagnosis.

Muscle biopsy is another common test used to determine the severity of the infection.

Treatment of Trichinosis in Dogs 

 Treatment for trichinosis focuses on removing the worms from the dog's body. Medications designed for roundworms can be used to kill the parasites and prevent re-infection.

 In some cases, severe muscle inflammation and pain are also associated with the infection. If left untreated, the condition may progress to heart failure and pneumonia. Therefore, proper diagnosis is important.

Symptoms of the disease in dogs are usually less severe than those of humans.