These parasites are found in North Africa, India, South-East Asia and Australia, and encyst in nodules within the gastric lining, espceially in the greater curvature of the stomach. The prevalence and worm burdens of Gnathostoma exhibit seasonal fluctuation in rural environments.
Larval migration through visceral organs occurs, especially the liver. Ruptured nodules can result in gastric bleeding or peritonitis. Aberrant migrations to peripheral lymph nodes can also occur in dogs.
Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Gnathostoma spinigerum
- Gnathostoma procyonis
- Gnathostoma binucleatum
Clinical signs are usually vague, but acute gastritis can occur, with anorexia, fever and weight loss evident.
Diagnosis is usually based on coprological evidence of Gnathostoma eggs.
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