Angiostrongylus vasorum: Epidemiological, clinical and histopathological insights

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Background: Canine angiostrongylosis is a nematode infection in domestic dogs and wild carnivores. The present report focuses on epidemiological, clinical and histopathological findings in a case of fatal disseminated angiostrongylosis in a dog living in southern Italy and provides data on the extent of the spread of Angiostrongylus vasorum in the same area.Case presentation: A 4-year-old female English Setter from the Campania region of southern Italy was referred with a 2-week history of cough and severe respiratory distress that did not respond to antimicrobial therapy. Based on clinical, radiological, echographical and cytological findings (including the presence of larvae), a suspect diagnosis of lungworm infection was performed. After few days the dog died due to progressive clinical aggravation. Complete postmortem examination was conducted within 24 hours from death and samples from lungs, heart, liver, kidney, spleen, stomach and small intestine were fixed in 10% buffered formalin. Grossly, several hemorrhagic foci were observed mostly in the lungs, liver, kidney. Microscopically, the lungs contained numerous, multifocal to coalescing granulomas composed of epitheliod macrophages, multinucleated giant cells and some neutrophils, frequently associated with parasite eggs and larvae. The lungs contained many firm nodules, many adult nematodes approximately 1.5 to 2 cm in length were observed in cut sections and identified as A. vasorum. A subsequent parasitological survey performed with FLOTAC on stray dogs living in the same area showed the presence of A. vasorum larvae in 17 of 1639 stray dogs examined (1.04%).Conclusion: This survey provides new data on distribution of A. vasorum and underlines that canine angiostrongylosis should be considered as differential diagnosis in dogs.




Rinaldi, L., Cortese, L., Meomartino, L., Pagano, T. B., Pepe, P., Cringoli, G., & Papparella, S. (2014). Angiostrongylus vasorum: Epidemiological, clinical and histopathological insights. BMC Veterinary Research, 10(1).

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