Eight Caribou and the University of Calgary Wildlife Research Station (Spyhill Campus) have been infected with lungworm for research purposes. Climate change is believed to be contributing to the spread of the parasites

Eight Caribou and the University of Calgary Wildlife Research Station (Spyhill Campus) have been infected with lungworm for research purposes. Climate change is believed to be contributing to the spread of the parasites
Photo Credit: Riley Brandt

Parasites spreading in Caribou, Muskox in high Arctic

They’re called “lungworms”  several species of roundworms that infect the lungs of caribou, muskox, bison, and Dall sheep.

While their presence had been detected several years ago, the incidence of the infection is spreading and it would appear climate change is a factor.

In an article by Drew Scherban in University of Calgary story, Susan Kutz, an associate professor in the university’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is quoted saying, “A warming climate can release temperature constraints on parasites, allowing them to expand their range. At the same time, this warming may be detrimental to the hosts that are adapted to cold conditions, and make them more susceptible to parasites and other pathogens.”

The lungworms which each live about 2 years, can grow to 65 cm, and exist by the hundreds. Their range used to be limited by the climate, but as the summers lengthen and the winters less harsh, they have been spreading.

Lungworm is only one of the diseases moving into the north due to warming and climate change. In 2012An outbreak of erysipelas- a bacterial infection typically found in livestok such as pigs, killed at least 100 muskox so far on N.W.T.’s Banks Island.
Lungworm is only one of the diseases moving into the north due to warming and climate change. In 2012An outbreak of erysipelas- a bacterial infection typically found in livestok such as pigs, killed at least 100 muskox so far on N.W.T.’s Banks Island. © CBC

Infected animals have a harder time breathing and tire quickly making them easier prey for predating wolves and bears.

The animals are also important for the aboriginal people of the north for food, clothing, and to their culture.

Deliberate infections to study parasites

A new study at the University of Calgary by professor Kutz seeks to acquire new information about the life cycle of the lungworms and reaction to different temperatures.

Eight caribou at the university’s Wildlife Research Station have been infected and scientists will study the lifestyle of the parasites and how they are affected by temperature.

The disease is spread when lungworm larvae are coughed up and then swallowed by the animal. They are released in the feces where slugs, or in some cases snails, take up the eggs as an intermediate host.  When grazing, the animals would then accidently ingest the slugs on plants. The larvae then travel  back to the lungs to repeat the process.

Additional information- sources

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Animals, Environment, Indigenous, International

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*