Capillaria hepatica (Calodium hepaticum) infection in a British dog

Dog may have caught liver infection from rats

Source: S. Lloyd et al
Veterinary Record vol 151 no 14, October 5 2002
starts p419, 2 pages long

Capillaria hepatica has been found in rats and mice in the UK. This case concerns a West Highland White cross bitch, which had always stayed in the UK, and which developed the disease. The bitch was neutered, and at 15-years-old, developed urinary incontinence and drank more than usual, as well as appearing to be senile. She was being treated for atrioventruclar block and hypradrenocorticism. She was euthanased, and her liver was found to be enlarged, pale and mottled on the outside, with internal lesions. The lesions contained eggs which appeared to be those of C hepatica.

Rats are the most common hosts of C hepatica. Infection is most common in urban areas and in the spring time, possibly due to cannibalism in rat nests. There is a need to carry out more investigations into the prevalence of C hepatica in the rat population. Dogs which hunt rats could become infected, as could humans, and the disease can be serious.