Professional Wildlife Management Hydatid Tapeworm Disease in Coyotes and Foxes
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Of all of the articles I have written on concerning Wildlife Management and Disease, this one is the most important! We have many roaming dogs here in Walton County and here in Georgia. These dogs that roam the woodlands and pastures have a 100% chance of encountering a Coyote or Fox on their travels. All Pet owners know that dogs will eat the scat of other animals as well as roll in the scat. What I want you to understand that there is a disease fatal to humans that is not being reported by the media or the DNR that involves your Pets. It is called Echinococcus multilocularis or Hydatid Tapeworm disease. Your veterinarian can give your dog a pill to prevent him from getting the disease but here is something the government is not telling you. Coyotes and Foxes are Vectors for this disease. This means they carry the disease in their intestines and scat but are not infected. They are a host.
I do alot of research on Coyotes and understand their behavior better than most since I have to trap out nuisance ones on a regular basis. I have been contacted by a group of Coyote Researchers in another state who have read some of my articles. I have been asked if I was willing to Collaborate with them in sharing Research and Findings involving Urban Coyote Behavior and Disease. Since this is a topic I find fascinating, I have agreed to do so. With the mass migration of Coyotes into Urban areas such as Atlanta, local cites, municipalities and subdivisions, the stage for a Perfect Storm is being set. Let me explain why. We all know that coyotes are living in and around our subdivisions and killing our pets. If you allow your dog to roam he will encounter the scat of these animals and will either eat it or roll in it. If he has been treated for tapeworm and is current on his pills, this is no issue. But here is what the government is not telling you. When you dog rolls in the scat of an infected animal, he will transfer the scat and live eggs of the tapeworm to his fur. He will then return home to his owner who has no idea that his pet is carrying this disease on his fur. Here is the most disturbing part, once the eggs dry out, they are still alive but they will become airborne and could be inhaled by the owner or his children. This is what you are not being told. I came across this realization when I was studying this disease and reflecting on coyote and canine behavior. The eggs migrate to the lungs, liver or the brain where they will live and grow. The latency period stated by the CDC is from 5-15 years before symptoms appear. This is relative depending on the body of the host. Some symptoms can appear much sooner. Rabies is a bad disease but it can be treated immediately. Hydatid disease is much worse because the cysts grow inside the body and reproduce to the point that symptoms appear. The disease has a high degree of Mortality.
This is one of the main reasons that Targeted Trapping of Coyotes and Foxes out of your subdivisions and property is so important!! We as Trappers have to be very careful when we handle the carcass of a Coyote or Fox and we must do so with latex gloves. I am putting this information out to the public because most people don‘t know the risks involved with this disease. You could have a dog that rolled in infected coyote scat in the morning and have neighborhood kids playing with him that evening. 13 states here in the U.S. have coyotes that have already tested positive for this disease. Research in areas such as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and other areas show that 30-34% of the scat samples tested Positive for the Hydatid Eggs. So you have a pack of 10 coyotes roaming around your neighborhood. Potentially 3 of them could be positive and could potentially infect not only your pets but you as well. Do you want to take the chance of “Coexisting“ with these Predators who are Vectors for this and other deadly diseases or do you want to be Pro Active about the situation and have them removed? I leave you with numerous links to articles about Hydatid disease. I have contacted a Veterinary Hospital at a University nearby to see if they will test the scat of Coyotes I trap for the live eggs of this disease. “I hope you take this article and information very seriously, because as more and more coyotes breed and migrate into the Urban areas, the number carrying this disease grows Exponentially. There are reasons that most counties in Georgia have ordinances against roaming dogs. One would be wise to follow them.
State Certified Nuisance Wildlife Trapper and Researcher
Eastern Wolfers Wildlife Management, LLC.