Hydatid Disease

Causative agent

Tapeworm of genus Echinococcus. People usually become infected by accidentally swallowing the tapeworm eggs passed in dog faeces. The disease may produce cysts in the liver, lungs, brain and other organs (the liver being the most common followed by the lung.

Symptoms And Signs


  • Diarrhoea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Anaemia
  • Weakness and fatigue


  • Liver cysts -jaundice, abdominal discomfort
  • Lung cysts –cough, chest pain and hemoptysis
  • Rupture of cysts –fever, urticaria, anaphylactic reactions

Investigations for Hydatid disease

  • X-ray examination
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Examination of blood, urine, sputum, faeces or other bodily fluids if a burst hydatid cyst is suspected
  • Blood tests for antibodies to the cysts.


  • Medicines
  • Surgery

Surgery is the main form of treatment for hydatid disease.


  • It is important to control tapeworm infection in domestic dogs. Regular preventive de-worming of dogs is important, especially in rural areas where dogs may have access to animal carcasses.
  • Dispose of the dog’s faeces carefully.
  • Practise general hygiene
  • Feed dog with commercially prepared dog foods.

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