#98: Spirocerca Lupi: Unmasking The New Hidden Challenge for Australian Vets. With Professor Peter Irwin and Dr Gillian Tenni

Vets of Australia, meet Spirocerca lupi, a parasite that’s been flying under the radar for a while now in Northwest Queensland. But as you’ll learn in this episode, is well worth adding to your DD list. To make the introductions we’re joined by Professor Peter Irwin, an Emeritus Professor from Murdoch University with a career that spans several continents and almost four-decades. He’s a registered specialist in canine medicine with a particular passion and extensive knowledge on anything and everything vector-borne disease. 

Our second guest is Dr Gillian Tenni, a passionate GP vet and practice owner from Mount Isa, Australia. Dr Gillian holds an Honours in Parasitology and has a knack for spotting unusual infections in her patients, and with a track record of more than 300 diagnosed cases of Spirocerca lupi, she’s our ‘boots on the ground’. She’s also teamed up with the University of Queensland for a research project on Spirocerca lupi.

Join us for the full Spirocerca story, from what it is (creepy), how it spreads (gross), what it does to our patients (scary!), what to look out for, diagnosis, treatment, and of course, prevention. Prof. Irwin’s wisdom and Dr Tenni’s hands-on stories provide us with some real insight on the fascinating parasite and the condition in causes. 

This episode is supported by Elanco Australia. You can learn more about their range of products at ⁠elanco.com.au⁠.

Topic list:

03:22 Spirocerca Lupi… yes, it’s a thing in Australia.

06:52 How does Spirocerca Lupi spread?

09:41 What’s the life cycle of the disease in a dog?

12:52 The clinical signs of a Spirocerca infected patient.

19:51 Dung beetles and where Spirocerca is most common in Australia.

22:14 More on the presentation of Spirocerca and the challenges of diagnosis.

34:20 Treatment.

38:10 Add-ons to the typical treatment plan.

41:08 Cross-reactivity in heartworm antigen tests of Spirocerca.



Elanco’s Website: https://www.elanco.com/en-au


“I would imagine there are cases of spirocercosis happening around the country that may go unrecognised.”

“Most routine anti-wormers really have very limited efficacy in preventing this. The drug that has been shown to be most efficacious is moxidectin, and the preparation that is now registered in Australia to prevent Spirocerca lupi is Advocate.”


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