Parasite prompts pooch smooch warning

The National Veterinary Institute in Sweden (SVA) has warned dog lovers to avoid canine kisses after a potentially fatal parasite was discovered in the country. Owners are also being advised to wash their hands after petting their best friends and treat their pups for worms following Sweden’s first-ever case of the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis.

Dog owners are particularly at risk according to SVA as the animals can pass the parasite on to humans without showing any symptoms of sickness themselves. Dogs who live in cities and have the opportunity to eat rodents are the most likely to be affected.

The municipalities of Vanersborg, Munkedal, Fargelanda and Uddevalla have been picked out as hotspots because of the distance the SVA believes an infected fox could have travelled.

“We naturally take it very seriously,” said Bodi Strom Holst, a veterinarian at SVA. “The same applies to adults and children regarding kissing dogs, even if it is naturally harder to say so.”