This acanthocephalan is typically a parasite of the small intestine of pigs, raccoons, wolves, badgers, foxes, skunks, mink, and moles.
The anterior end of Macracanthorhynchus bears a spiny, retractable proboscis or rostellum used for firm attachment to the intestinal wall. Adult females shed embryonated eggs, laying ~260,000 eggs/day for several months. The prepatent period is 2 - 3 months.
Transmission from wildlife to dogs may occur via ingestion of infected intermediate hosts (various beetles such as millipedes).
Species which have been reported in dogs include:
- Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus
- Macracanthorhynchus ingens
This parasite has been routine found during coprological surveys of urban dogs.
Although commonly infect, few clinical signs associated with parasitism have been reported, primarily restricted to diarrhea.
- Merck Vet Manual
- Dalimi A et al (2006) A study on intestinal helminthes of dogs, foxes and jackals in the western part of Iran. Vet Parasitol 142(1-2):129-33
- El-Shehabi FS et al (1999) Prevalence of intestinal helminths of dogs and foxes from Jordan. Parasitol Res 85(11):928-934
- Pearce JR et al (2001) Macracanthorhynchus ingens infection in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 219(2):194-196