A tapeworm that thrives in foxes – especially in southern Jutland – has shown up in some raccoon dogs in Højer, and authorities now fear it could spread across the country.
“The tapeworm has shown up in raccoon dogs, confirming the incidence of the tapeworm around Højer is relatively high,” Heidi Enemark, a scientist at the National Veterinary Institute, told DR Nyheder.
Spreading from Jutland
The parasite, which can infect both humans and pets, has been found in 14 foxes in Denmark since 2011. Ten of those were found near Højer. Four were found around Grindsted.
Finding the tapeworm in the dogs has authorities concerned that the parasite could be spreading.
“My guess is that the incidence is highest in southern Jutland and is spreading into central Jutland,” said Enemark. “There is a risk that it could spread across the country.”
Could be deadly
Dogs and cats that get out in nature can pick up the parasite, which is not harmful to pets but can be dangerous or even fatal in humans.
“The parasite can lead to changes in the liver that resemble cancer, and those changes can spread to other parts of the body,” said Enemark.
The risk of infection is relatively small and can only happen if a person somehow gets fox or dog faeces in their mouth.