Toxascariasis


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Toxascariasis

 

a helminthiasis of dogs, foxes, and arctic foxes and occasionally of other carnivores. It is caused by large nematodes (roundworms) of the genus Toxascaris, up to 8–10 cm in length, which infest the small intestine. In soil and water the Toxascaris eggs develop larvae that infest the carnivorous hosts and the rodents that serve as intermediate hosts. In the host’s intestine, the larvae hatch, molt, and become sexually mature. In arctic foxes, the parasites reach maturity in 55–72 days. The painful intestinal disorders caused by toxascariasis result from the migration of the larvae within the intestinal wall, and later from infestation by the adult worms.

Toxascariasis is treated with standard anthelmintics. Infestation is prevented by keeping the animals’ quarters scrupulously clean and by treating infested animals.