Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Ancylostoma caninum (human eosinophilic enteritis)
- Ancylostoma braziliense
- Ancylostoma ceylanicum
- Ancylostoma duodenale
Anyclostoma are a relatively robust parasite and several hundred genes change their expression during the worm's transition from a free living to a parasitic larva. They possess a heat-shock protein-based cuticle which allows them to survive harsh environments off-host. They are, however, prone to parasitism by nematophagous symbiont fungi, such as Monacrosporium thaumasium, Arthrobotrys robusta and Duddingtonia flagrans.
They have a direct life cycle with dogs becoming infected through ingestion of eggs in soil and coat hair, or through skin penetration by infective larvae. Sharp rostral teeth are used for attachment and anticoagulant peptides are used by this nematode to feed on their host. Eggs are activated through gastric proteolytic enzymes and larvae penetrate the mucosa of the intestine and undergo extensive tissue migration throughout the body before residing in the small intestine, where they reproduce and shed eggs. The eggs pass in the feces and hatch in the soil. The first stage larva feeds on bacteria and molts twice to form the non-feeding, infective third stage.
Similar to Toxocara canis, A. caninum infective larvae can also temporarily abort maturation and enter an arrested state (hypobiosis) within somatic tissues, reactivating in response to physiological changes such as pregnancy.
Infections in young dogs normally result in characteristic underweight, pot-bellied puppies, which are often anemic. Deaths associated with heavy infestations in young dogs is common. Adult dogs are often asymptomatically infected, although poor coat, polyphagia and anemia can also occur.
Diagnosis is usually based on coprological examinations using fecal floatation devices. The eggs of A. braziliense are significantly smaller than the eggs of A. caninum and A. tubaeforme and makes identification relatively simple for experienced clinicians using light microscopy.
Supportive diagnosis can be made with ELISA assays of feces and blood samples, and PCR assays can be used for accurate speciation of the parasite.
- Encyclopedia of Life
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