Dirofilaria immitis and Angiostrongylus vasorum: The current situation of two major canine heartworms in Portugal

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Abstract

Cardiopulmonary nematodes are life-threatening pet parasites increasingly reported throughout Europe, with overlapping endemic areas. Dirofilaria immitis is a mosquito-borne whilst Angiostrongylus vasorum is a snail-borne pathogen. Both adult nematodes reside in the pulmonary arteries and right cardiac ventricle of domestic and wild canids, causing a wide spectrum of clinical presentations ranging from cough, dyspnoea and exercise intolerance to severe vascular and pulmonary disease with hearth failure that may lead to death. Information about the prevalence and distribution of cardiopulmonary parasites is essential for the control of animal diseases and, in the case of D. immitis, for the control of potentially associated illnesses in humans. However, in Portugal, heartworm studies are limited to few surveys and case reports, possibly underestimating the relevance of these nematodes. The present work reviews the data on cardiopulmonary dirofilariosis and angiostrongylosis in dogs in Portugal, providing a comprehensive update of the epidemiological situation during the past 20 years.

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Alho, A. M., Meireles, J., Schnyder, M., Cardoso, L., Belo, S., Deplazes, P., & de Carvalho, L. M. (2018). Dirofilaria immitis and Angiostrongylus vasorum: The current situation of two major canine heartworms in Portugal. Veterinary Parasitology, 252, 120–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.01.008

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