Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Acanthocheilonema viteae
- Acanthocheilonema reconditum
- Acanthocheilonema dracunculoides
The life cycle of this parasite involves an intermediate host (A. viteae - usually Hippobosca longipennis; A. reconditum - usually fleas and lice)) and transmission of infective L3 larvae to dogs during feeding. Adult Acanthocheilonema spp reside in subcutaneous tissue or in body cavities, where they form nodules and release infective L1 microfilariae that are subsequently ingested by the intermediate host while feeding on the dog.
Most dogs are asymptomatically infected, but heavy worm burdens may result in canine subcutaneous filariasis due to subcutaneous nodule formations.
Diagnosis is based on identificaiton of circulating microfilariae in blood samples or identification of larval stages in nodule biopsies. Mulitplex PCR assays are now available for speciation of this parasite.
Treatment is relatively effective with oral doxycycline given daily for 2 - 3 months to eradicate endosymbionts.
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