Spirocerca lupi

Not found in the UK or Ireland, this travelling pet threat is spread by infected beetles in other parts of the world.

What do they look like and where do they live?

  • Spirocerca lupi worms live in the wall of the aorta (the major blood vessel leaving the heart) and oesophagus (gullet)
  • Worms are up to 7cm in length but will not be seen as they remain internal

How can my pet contract Spirocerca lupi?

  • These worms are not found in the UK and Ireland, however they are a threat to travelling pets in South Africa, some countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world
  • They are transmitted to dogs when they swallow infected beetles or other small animals such as lizards, birds or rodents which have eaten infected beetles

How will this parasite affect my pet?

  • If Spirocerca lupi is contracted whilst travelling abroad, the disease can lead to symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, regurgitation or vomiting, cancer of the oesophagus, or even sudden death due to rupture of the aorta.

Can this parasite affect my health?

Humans are not thought to be at risk from this parasite