Caring for Stranded Marine Animals
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Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- March 2021 Answer

The parasite is known as the Bolbosoma species, a member of the Acanthocephala phylum. Due to its appearance, its common name is “thorny-headed worm”. A Bolbosoma infection can be diagnosed through visible larvae in the fecal matter. An animal with abdominal discomfort can also be in indicator of intestinal worms. Unfortunately, no effective treatment has been found for this infection in marine animals. Most of the information on this mature parasite comes from worms examined after being removed from the dead animals’ intestine. In human cases however, medications can be given to get rid of the worms.

Posted By Amber R.

Amber is a spring intern studying in the Animal Health Care Program at Bristol Community College.

Sources: 

Stoskopf, Micheal K. “Parasite Diseases of Marine Mammals.” Merck Manual: Veterinary Manual, Accessed 15 March 2021, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/marine-mammals/parasitic-diseases-of-marine-mammals.

“Acanthocephala.” Science Direct, Accessed 15 March 2021, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/veterinary-science-and-veterinary-medicine/acanthocephala#:~:text=(Thorny%2Dheaded%20worms)&text=Acanthocephalans%2C%20also%20known%20as%20spiny,utilizes%20an%20arthropod%20intermediate%20host.

“Acanthocephaliasis.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed 15 March 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/acanthocephaliasis/index.html.

Mathison, Blaine A., et al. “Macracanthorhynchus ingens Infection in an 18-Month-Old Child in Florida: A Case Report and Review of Acanthocephaliasis in Humans.” Clinical Infectious Diseases, Accessed 15 March 2021, https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/63/10/1357/2450059.

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