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News - Briewe
Monday, 26 September 2016 19:18
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Monica Tromp writes to dr Liesel:
My Yorkie of three years was diagnosed with Spirocerca lupi today.

She got sick last week Tuesday. I took her to the vet at Sunward Park vet in Boksburg on Wednesday. She was drooling a lot and making weird noises.

I took her in daily for pain and antibiotics injections. On Friday they decided to keep her for the weekend. The doctor came for a scan today. We sent blood away as they thought it was her kidneys.

The doctor phoned this afternoon and told me she has the Spirocerca lupi parasite.

She is drinking water, not eating a lot, but not vomiting. I need to know what will be the best for my daughter's companion. She is seven and is not coping with her pet being so sick.

Please advise.

Dr Liesel van der Merwe answers:
Spirocerca lupi is a worm which causes a growth in the oesophagus. Unfortunately animals often don't show any symptoms until this growth is quite large. If allowed to grow untreated it can turn cancerous. 

In some dogs, especially the smaller breeds, they can show symptoms very early as the growth irritates some of the nerves. They may develop hard salivary glands (at the corner of the jaw) and show quite marked retching and difficulty swallowing. 

So it depends how your dog presents: A small growth can be quite easily treated by using medication to kill the worm. Once the worm is dead, the lump in the oesophagus shrinks.

If your dog is showing severe retching and inability to eat and the lump is small, special drugs can be used to suppress the nerve stimulation (anti-epilepsy drugs – phenobarbitone).

If the lump is very large, it may be cancerous in which case surgery and chemotherapy are the only options. 

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