Our veterinary patients deal with the effects of “worms” in a number of ways – we frequently see animals who suffer from gastrointestinal illness, weight loss, blood loss, and occasionally kidney, cardiac, muscular or neurologic diseases that all may relate to parasitic infections. If you’re a pet parent or animal producer – your eyes may glaze over a bit when your vet discusses the health risks associated with parasites – but these risks are significant. Many parasites have zoonotic potential – they can be shared between animals and humans – and this is part of why veterinarians continue to discuss these creatures with our clients – we want to protect animal health AND the health of humans who care for and interact with animals.
The parasite risks in a specific region constantly change as parasites migrate (along for the ride in an infected animal) around the province, country, continent, or around the world. In many species, including dogs, there is evidence that some parasites are developing resistance to certain types of deworming medications. One of these parasites is the canine hookworm – known as Ancylostoma caninum. Dr. John Gilleard from the University of Calgary has been involved in investigations into the emergence and diagnosis of these drug-resistant canine hookworms over the past few years. In addition to working as a Professor of Parasitology and the Associate Dean of Research at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Calgary, his research focusses on drug-resistant parasites and ways to investigate the emergence and spread of these in animal populations including cattle, other ruminants, and dogs.
Pablo D. Jimenez Castro, Abhinaya Venkatesan, Elizabeth Redman, Rebecca Chen, Abigail Malatesta, Hannah Huff, Daniel A. Zuluaga Salazar, Russell Avramenko, John S. Gilleard, Ray M. Kaplan, Multiple drug resistance in hookworms infecting greyhound dogs in the USA, International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance, Volume 17, 2021, Pages 107-117, ISSN 2211-3207, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpddr.2021.08.005