Wow, love your dog, just don’t kiss it!
Originally posted on BODY HORRORS:
Dogs are dirty, dirty animals. I know because I’ve had several, which currently includes a mud-loving, cockroach-catching, drooly mess of a boxer who enjoys nothing more than sleeping her way over every soft surface in my house. The fact that dogs also transmit diseases, and an incredible variety of them at that, does not help matters! Parasites, viruses, bacterial and fungal infections! To their owners! To me, maybe you, maybe your friends! Your relationship with your pet is, in short, a lot richer than you could ever imagine. In light of this, I have a real doozy of a story about the relationship between pet dogs and a miserable little parasite set in the barren desert of northwest Kenya.
First, the parasite. Echinococcus granulosus is the causative agent of hydatid disease, a real nasty piece of work that usually plagues dogs and the ruminants they herd or hunt. Hydatid disease typically follows a dog-sheep-dog pattern, cycling through its intermediate host, the sheep, with the ultimate destination in its direct host, the dog. Dogs eat infected viscera, become infected with thousands of tiny tapeworm, shed the tapeworm eggs in their feces, sheep consume the eggs and the band plays on.