The genus Lagochilascaris belongs to the phylum Nematoda. This genus of worms are found naturally infecting wild Felidae, dogs, domestic cats and men in some Central and South American countries.
The life cycle of this nematode involves ingestion of rodents which contain infective third-stage larvae. The larvae penetrate the gut wall of the dog and undergo visceral and subcutaneous migration to target organs, primarily the lungs and respiratory tree, where they encyst and shed eggs. Encysted larva have also been located in connective tissue throughout the body.
These parasites were first described in humans, where it caused various degrees of facial abscesses, middle ear infections and encephalopathy associated with aberrant tissue migrations. In cats, the adult worms have been isolated from the trachea, esophagus, pharynx, subcutaneous tissue and cervical lymph nodes. In dogs, these parasites are mainly found in the trachea and subcutaneous nodules.
Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Lagochilascaris minor
- Lagochilascaris major
- Lagochilascaris buckleyi
- Lagochilascaris turgida
- Lagochilascaris sprenti
Clinical signs usually appear about 1 - 2 weeks post-infection, with vague respiratory signs. Neurological disease referable to aberrant migration within the CNS have not been reported in dogs, as is seen in cats. Ptyalism has been noted with parasites located in the frenulum of the tongue.
Diagnosis is confirmed by isolation of adult nematodes, presence of eggs in the feces and characteristic eosinophilia and elevated ALT/AST liver enzymes.
- Portals Sao Francisco
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