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Introduction to Toxocariasis

Question:

Discuss About The Veterinary And Health Aspects Of Toxocara?

Toxocariasis or Toxocara canis is a round worm that resides in the intestines of foxes. This is the most common disease from which a fox gets infected. This round worm when produce eggs gets released into the environment through the faeces of the infected animal and it increases the chances of soil contamination. This increases the chances of contracting the disease toxocariasis by the other foxes and the cattle, that come in direct contact with the infected soil or the faeces. Even if the humans come in contact with the contaminated soil, there are high chances of contracting this disease (Overgaauw and van Knapen 2013). This study is based on a case study, that emphasize on the problems that are arising due to a disease that has broken out in an area within the foxes, which is affecting the other foxes and cattle. This disease needs to effectively managed from spreading and infecting other animals.

A new has broken out in an area that are affecting the foxes. The foxes that get infected with this disease are dying within the two-week time period. If within this time period other foxes are coming in contact with these infected foxes, the other foxes in the area are also getting infected. The disease has posed a danger for the other farm animals, to whom the disease might spread. Thus, it is important to eliminate the disease. However, there is a vaccine that can effectively reduce the spread of the disease to the other foxes. This vaccine if mixed with the food and placed in the suitable places is found to be 100 percent effective in reducing the spread of the disease and even helps in protecting the foxes. There are also other ways of controlling the spread of the disease, either by shooting the foxes which s labour intensive process or by mixing poison in the food.

Defining the geographical area- In order to reduce the occurrence of the toxocariasis disease within the foxes, the affected geographical area first needs to be clearly defined. Foxes always move in a groups of 4 and more. However, on rare occasions 10 foxes are found in a group. According to the studies, foxes rarely travel more than 10 km during the night in search of food. Thus, to clearly define the geographical area, a 12 km radius perimeter will be set up which will serve as a limiting area and at the same time will be used to monitor the activity of the foxes. This geographical area also encompasses the residential places and the forest areas (Dpipwe.tas.gov.au, 2018).

Disease Prevention Strategies

Determining the fox population- controlling diseases in foxes and proper vaccination require the clear quantification of the number of the foxes that are present in the wild. The number of the foxes will help and assist in framing the vaccination process, as well as will give an overview of the total number of foxes that need to be dealt with. There are advanced techniques like the radio telemetry, which involves tagging a collar to the foxes. This will effectively determine the area of activity and home range detection (Dpipwe.tas.gov.au, 2018).

Identification of zones- The second most important part is to identify the places or the zones where the activity of the foxes is seen the most. The most active places or the zones will act as places where food can be placed which will contain the vaccines. Agglomeration of fox foot prints in a specific place can be considered as the best way to designate places that experience the highest activity of the foxes.

Vaccination process- it is important to note that, the disease toxocariasis in the foxes cannot be eradicated totally. Thus, it necessary to control, manage and prevent the spread an recurrence of the disease in foxes. Vaccination one of the best method to control the disease among the foxes that visit a single place in groups. Because, food mixed with vaccines can be easily taken up by the foxes and at the same time will help to reduce the spread of the disease (Müller et al. 2012).

Shooting and poisoning- this is the last option which must be only used when a clear idea of the number of the foxes in the wild is achieved. Reducing the population of foxes in wild can effectively create an ecological imbalance. Although an effective strategy, but can hamper the food chain due to the reduction in the number of fox population. Shooting is a labour intensive process which will require a lot a patience and manpower, and human error are bound to occur in this process. Poisoning on the other hand is another alternative strategy, but it is not an explicit and effective procedure. The poisoning strategy will require careful implementation because there are high chances that other animal species might get poisoned. Both the strategies are the quickest and can address the issue if executed in a planned way (Huntsabs.org.uk, 2018).

When the strategies/plans will be executed, there are certain assumptions that needs to be considered for the plan to work effectively. The cost of employing the man power for the survey, shooting and poisoning will stand around 8 thousand American Dollars (Müller et al. 2015).  The survey of the foxes also includes the cost of radio telemetry instruments. Especially for the strategy to control the population of the foxes, and the delivery of the vaccination via the mixed food. The foxes are assumed to be moving in packs/groups (Dempsey, Gese and Kluever 2014). The availability of the vaccine is assumed to be in sufficient quantity for the vaccination of the foxes. The distribution of the vaccines completely depends on its availability. Thus, if the quantity of the vaccines is assumed to be sufficient, then distribution will be done by the already planned manpower. When the project will be carried out, it will directly benefit the farmers, general public and even the pet-owners that live in the area where the activity of the foxes is evident. The support can be expected from the general public, pet-owners and farmers because the project will be beneficial for the entire population.

Defining the Geographical Area

The risks associated with this plan and the strategy are the political risks and the technical risks.

Political risks- the most important risk associated with the killing of foxes is the political risk. Shooting and hunting of foxes is considered to be barbaric and the animal activists do not support such an act. The animal rights activists work for the protection of the animals that are killed and slaughtered. The governments that stay in power and execute the task of hunting and killing people often face the heat from the common citizens, animal activists and the opposition parties. While, if the project in undertaken, it might have experience the backlash from the environmental activists. Foxes play a significant role in controlling the population of the rabbits, mice and the other small animals during the winter season. Foxes also control the population of insects, crabs, mollusks, reptiles and frogs. Thus, killing of the foxes can negatively impact the maintenance of the ecological balance. Thus, the environmental activists will raise this issue and will work to stop the project in the midway (Animal Rights Toronto, 2018).

Technical risks- in this particular study, sampling and survey of the fox population requires tagging with the radio telemetry equipment. The equipment is heavy due to the presence of the antennas, batteries. This equipment is quite heavy for the smaller tagged animals and thus impede both the behaviour and mobility of the animals. Thus, the weight of the equipment will reduce the effectivity of the survey and the sampling process (Krause et al. 2013). The usage of the cameras during the night time to track the movement and behaviour of the fox may impede or hinder the natural behaviour of the foxes. There are also other technical risks associated with the logistics of distribution of the vaccines. The proper delivery and allocation and even effective mixing of the vaccines with the food substances may arise due to the human error. Such human errors will reduce the effectivity of the project, because killing or poisoning the foxes is the last option. Thus, to manage and reduce the disease in foxes and as well as averting the political risk, the vaccination process needs to be accurate to both prevent and manage the disease in foxes (Müller et al. 2012).

Conclusion

Therefore, from the above discussion it can be concluded that, the toxocarias disease in foxes is common as found in the domestic dogs and cats. In the domestic set up, this disease can be controlled. Whereas, in the wild this disease spreads rampantly to the other animals through the faeces and dead carcass. In this study, a situation has aroused in which the foxes are contracting the disease called toxocarias and it is affecting the other foxes. This study has proposed or consulted certain strategies that will be used for the effective eradication of the disease through the effective usage of the vaccination, killing and poisoning.

Reference

Animal Rights Toronto (2018). Animal Rights Groups | Animal Rights Toronto. [online] Animal Rights Toronto. Available at: https://animalrightstoronto.com/animal-rights-groups/ [Accessed 17 Jan. 2018].

Dempsey, S.J., Gese, E.M. and Kluever, B.M., 2014. Finding a fox: an evaluation of survey methods to estimate abundance of a small desert carnivore. PloS one, 9(8), p.e105873.

Dpipwe.tas.gov.au (2018). Fox Behaviour and Ecology. [online] Dpipwe.tas.gov.au. Available at: https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/programs-and-alerts/fox-eradication-program/fox-profile/fox-behaviour-and-ecology [Accessed 17 Jan. 2018].

Huntsabs.org.uk, H. (2018). Do Foxes need Culling? - Hunt Saboteurs Association. [online] Huntsabs.org.uk. Available at: https://www.huntsabs.org.uk/index.php/faqs/537-do-foxes-need-culling [Accessed 17 Jan. 2018].

Krause, J., Krause, S., Arlinghaus, R., Psorakis, I., Roberts, S. and Rutz, C., 2013. Reality mining of animal social systems. Trends in ecology & evolution, 28(9), pp.541-551.

Müller, T., Bätza, H.J., Freuling, C., Kliemt, A., Kliemt, J., Heuser, R., Schlüter, H., Selhorst, T., Vos, A. and Mettenleiter, T.C., 2012. Elimination of terrestrial rabies in Germany using oral vaccination of foxes. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr, 125(5-6), pp.178-90.

Müller, T.F., Schröder, R., Wysocki, P., Mettenleiter, T.C. and Freuling, C.M., 2015. Spatio-temporal use of oral rabies vaccines in fox rabies elimination programmes in Europe. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 9(8), p.e0003953.

Overgaauw, P.A. and van Knapen, F., 2013. Veterinary and public health aspects of Toxocara spp. Veterinary parasitology, 193(4),

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