Toxocariasis

Toxocariasis is also known as Visceral Larva Migrans and involves the ingestion of the roundworm larvae normally found in untreated dogs and cats. The developed eggs of this worm will be deposited in the soil in the feces by its former host, either cat or dog.

The eggs are then either transferred by hand to mouth or through contaminated food. The eggs hatch in the human intestine to become larvae, which will then penetrate the intestinal wall and using the blood stream as a transport media, can then travel to any part of the body.

They do not develop fully in to the roundworm, but the larval stage can cause damage especially if the larva reaches the central nervous system or the eyes. Eye lesions (chorioretinitis) may be mistaken for some other disorder, but associated with this infestation are fever, cough or wheezing and pneumonia, liver enlargement and often a skin rash.

Liver biopsy and specific blood tests can confirm the condition. The condition is self-limiting as the larvae will eventually die in 6 -18 months so long as there is no re infection, therefore the most important course of action must be to find the animal source and make sure that they are regularly wormed.

Worming of all domestic animals especially those under 6 months old should be carried out routinely.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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