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Dog ‘Killing’ Parasite Known As Heterobilharzia Americana Has Been Found In A Local River

Written by: Dee Michaels
Dee Michaels is a passionate and accomplished writer, renowned for his heartwarming and engaging stories on more
| Published on March 26, 2024

In an alarming discovery, scientists have identified a potentially fatal parasite in the Colorado River near the Arizona border, posing a significant risk to dogs. The parasite, known as heterobilharzia americana or liver fluke, has been confirmed for the first time in the Western United States, according to Professor Adler Dillman of the University of California Riverside.

Image/Story Source Credit: AZFamily Arizona News via YouTube Video


The parasite’s presence was detected in a man-made pond in Moab, Utah, alarmingly close to a tributary of the Colorado River, suggesting it may have spread throughout the river’s expanse, potentially reaching as far as the Gulf of Mexico.

Image/Story Source Credit: AZFamily Arizona News via YouTube Video


The liver fluke does not pose a threat to humans, but pet owners are urged to exercise caution, especially in popular recreational areas like Lake Havasu. The discovery came to light after veterinarians contacted Professor Dillman, reporting 11 cases of canine schistosomiasis, a disease caused by the parasite, over the past five years. Subsequent research involved collecting around 2,000 snails from the river bank, which revealed the presence of the liver fluke.

Image/Story Source Credit: AZFamily Arizona News via YouTube Video


Dogs can contract the parasite through ingestion or exposure to infested water, leading to severe symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody diarrhea. Thankfully, effective treatment options are available. Despite the need for further testing to determine the full extent of the parasite’s spread, dog owners are advised to keep their pets away from potentially contaminated waters to prevent infection.

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