Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

Atlas of Parasites Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Dirofilaria immitis (dogs)

Category:


Species:
Endoparasite


Description:
Untitled document

Nematode

Heartworm

Distribution:  Portugal, Spain, South of France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Turkey and Hungary.

Host:  Final hosts are dogs, cats and other carnivores.  L3 stage larvae are transmitted by mosquito vectors (intermediate host).  Cutaneous infection.  Pre-patent period is 120-180 days, patent period is several years.

Diagnosis:  Detection of microfilaria earliest 180 days after infection by concentration of microfilaria with Difil – Test or Knott’s Test.  Microfilariae can be speciated using morphological, biochemical or molecular species identification in specialised laboratories only.   Circulating antigens are detected from 5 months after infection with a sensitivity around 90% and approximately 100% if 1 female worm or more are present, respectively.

Clinical features: Low worm burden asymptomatic.  Infections with D.immitis may cause a severe and potentially fatal disease in dogs and cats.  First clinical manifestation 5-7 months after infection: loss of condition, dyspnoea, cough.  Chronic disease: cough, tachycardia, ”Caval syndrome”, tachypnoea.

Zoonosis:  human infection is rare


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