Dipetalonema spp

From Dog

Dipetalonema spp are an hematophagous parasitic nematode of dogs worldwide.

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Dipetalonema reconditum

This parasite normally resides in the subcutaneous tissue of dogs and produces live first stage larvae (microfilariae) which are ingested by a paratenic host, usually Ctenocephalides spp and Heterodoxus spp. Infective L3 larvae develop in this host and are transmitted to another dog during feeding. A small percentage of adult worms can also be found in the peritoneal cavity of dogs[1].

Adult Dipetalonema spp rarely cause clinical signs, although pruritus, alopecia and dermal abrasions may occur in heavy infestations. Many symptoms attributed to this parasite are usually the result of concurrent parasitism.

Diagnosis is based on identification of microfilariae in skin scrapings or blood wet smears. Identification can be confused with Dirofilaria immitis, Crenosoma vulpis, Acanthocheilonema viteae, Cercopithifilaria spp and Brugia spp, which underlies their importance in canine medicine.

Definitive diagnosis requires PCR assay speciation.

Treatment is relatively effective with diethylcarbamazine, doramectin, selamectin or ivermectin[2].


  1. Bowman, DD (2009) Georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri. pp:230-231
  2. Nolan TJ & Lok JB (2012) Macrocyclic lactones in the treatment and control of parasitism in small companion animals. Curr Pharm Biotechnol 13(6):1078-1094