Dogs infected with echinococcosis play a major role in spreading tapeworms across human populations around the world. Now, researchers from China have developed a ‘smart collar’ which gradually delivers a steady dose of a deworming drug to dogs.
The collar successfully reduces the animals’ risk of echinococcosis, the team report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Dogs can be infected with either Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato, which causes cystic echinococcosis, or E. multilocularis, which causes alveolar echinococcosis.
Researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention developed a deworming collar which delivers praziquantel (PZQ), known to be the most effective deworming drug. They designed the collar to be waterproof, anti-collision, cold-proof, and to automatically deliver a regular, quantitative dose of PZQ.
“In order to prevent the transmission of echinococcosis from dogs to humans and livestock completely, we developed a smart Internet of Things (IoT)-based deworming collar which can deliver PZQ baits for dogs automatically and regularly,” the researchers said.
“Two pilot studies have showed that it is an excellent alternative to existing manual deworming methods, and the difficulties associated with performing deworming in remote areas with scarce resources can be overcome.”