California Dog Owners Warned of Lethal River Parasite

By Jess Thomson | Newsweek |

NEWSWEEK - A parasite that could potentially kill your pet dog has been discovered lurking in a section of the Colorado River that runs through Southern California.

This parasite is a flatworm named Heterobilharzia americana, also known as a liver fluke, and has previously only been found in Texas and other states on the Gulf Coast.

However, a new paper in the journal Pathogens reports that it has been discovered in California for the first time.

"Dogs can die from this infection, so we are hoping to raise public awareness that it's there," paper co-author Adler Dillman, a nematology professor at the University of California, Riverside, said in a statement. "If you're swimming in the Colorado River with them, your pets are in peril."

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