“I happened to remove 25 to 30 worms from the eye”: how to protect your animals from thelaziosis which is also prevalent in Occitanie ?

“I happened to remove 25 to 30 worms from the eye”: how to protect your animals from thelaziosis which is also prevalent in Occitanie ?

La maladie touche les chiens et les chats, mais aussi les vaches ou les chevaux. Illustration Unsplash

A disease that is more impressive than serious, ocular thelaziosis now affects animals across a large part of French territory, including Occitanie, whereas it was traditionally confined to the Bordeaux region and the Landes. ;

A worm, deposited by a fly, which comes to feed on the tears of animals. Here is how dogs, cats, but also cows and horses can contract ocular thelaziosis. A disease that was traditionally confined to northern Italy, southern Switzerland and the Bordeaux and Landes regions. 

But now, "we find it in the Lyon region, in the Loire and in Occitanie", indicates Frank Famose, veterinary ophthalmologist in Toulouse and also president of the order of veterinarians d'Occitanie.

It is therefore the Drosophila fly which serves as host, which has evolved its biotope, since it now occupies a large part of French territory. "She frequents market gardening areas, in particular strawberry production", specifies Doctor Frank Tamose. 

As a veterinary ophthalmologist, he says he sees "once or twice a month this type of case", while that in a “normal” year, a typical veterinarian will only see "maybe only'once a year"

So what do we need to know about this disease, which also affects the region, and from which we must protect our animals now, since the fly is most prevalent from spring to fall ? 

How is it caught ?

It is a fly called "drosophila", which lands in the corner of the animal's eye to feed on its tears. In doing so, it lays eggs, which will become larvae and develop in the conjunctiva, explains the veterinarian. “When another fly comes to drink the tears of an eye that has already been visited, it can move the larvae”.

How to spot it ?

In general, the owner of an animal that has been infested will realize the problem before seeing the worms and will go to the veterinarian because their dog or cat's eye is leaking abnormally. "We see the worms after a few weeks, in general, there is consultation before", reassures Frank Famose. But the visible sign of this disease remains indeed these worms present on the conjunctiva. 

What to do ?

Prevention is better than cure and to prevent your animals from being affected by this disease, deworming remains the best option. "Depending on the geographical context, you can even deworm every month", recommends the veterinary ophthalmologist. If, despite prevention, your animal presents a symptom and thelaziosis, the veterinarian will remove the parasites, generally, after administering a tranquilizer.

What happens if we do nothing ?

The worms develop and the animal is subject to "chronic conjunctivitis and then it becomes very annoying". In the most spectacular cases, they can be numerous. "I have already removed 25 to 30 worms from one eye", knowing that the latter measure on average 15 milimeters says Frank Famose, who immediately reassures: "the spectacular side has no relation to gravity!"

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