Richard Malik, a renowned veterinarian from Australia, gave a public talk about animals contracting rat lungworm disease to an audience assembled at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Science and Technology Building on Tuesday evening.
The talk, entitled “Rat lungworm disease: A one health approach using animals as sentinels,” was sponsored by the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.
Malik, who is from the University of Sydney’s School of Veterinary Science, first diagnosed rat lungworm disease in dogs in Sydney in 1989. According to UH, Malik “has researched the incidence and development of the infection in companion animals, wildlife, and human patients. Malik also is a consultant in small animal medicine with a special interest in infectious diseases of companion animals.”
Malik noted that although rat lungworm disease is seen elsewhere in the world, the Hilo-area is home to one of the worst outbreaks. But there is hope for dog owners who fear their pup will contract the disease by accidentally ingesting an infected slug or snail: Malik says there is a drug that, if administered every four weeks or so, will prevent the infection from taking hold.