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Larval excretion of both parasites is highly variable over References
time in chronically infected animals (6, 7, 8) and it is therefore recommended that faecal samples are collected for three consecutive days to increase the likelihood of detecting an infection (6). However, this may still not be enough to compensate for irregular or periodic cessation of faecal excretion (8). Another general weakness of all larval detection methods is that they are only effective after onset of patency (e.g. larval production). However,
a similar problem is faced when using either an ELISA or the commercial Angio DetectTM point of care test to detect circulating A. vasorum antigens from current infections
as it can take several weeks before the antigens can be detected (10). On the plus side both techniques are highly specific and the Angio DetectTM offers an easy applicable diagnostic option in the clinic. Blood parameters and diagnostic imaging (1, 6) can offer supportive evidence of parasite infections and their severity, but are not specific and it should always be attempted to positively identify a given parasite.
Options for control and prevention
Both parasites can be treated successfully with anthelmintics but repeated treatment may be required for safe and effective cure (1, 6). However, care should be taken as for example dead A. vasorum may elicit adverse host immune responses and supportive treatment is sometimes provided with enforced rest (6). Control of gastropods is difficult and prevention should include collection of dog faeces to reduce environmental contamination. Unfortunately, this is not practical for cats and may have little effect in areas with infected wildlife and stray/feral cats and dogs. Lastly, it is generally difficult to prevent dogs and particularly cats from consuming intermediate or paratenic hosts. For animals known to be particularly at risk, preventive anthelmintic treatment may therefore be necessary.
ESCCAP guidelines
The European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP) is currently revising guidelines and recommendations on significance, monitoring, prevention and control of major parasites in cats and dogs with
the latest specialist knowledge for release in 2017 ( The material aims to give a comprehensive overview for easy use in the clinic and demonstration to clients.
Both A. abstrusus and A. vasorum are emerging infections that need to be countered by prompt action by local vets and continued research on transmission dynamics and infection biology supported by improved diagnostics to help predict how the infections may spread and to support treatment decisions.
1. Elsheikha HM, Schnyder M, Traversa D, Di Cesare A, Wright I, Lacher DW (2016). Updates on feline aelurostrongylosis and research priorities for the next decade. Parasites & Vectors 9:389.
2. Mozzer LR, Lima WS (2014). Gallus gallus domesticus: Paratenic host of Angiostrongylus vasorum. Veterinary Parasitology 207, 84-84.
3. Woolsey ID, Webster P, Thamsborg S, Schnyder M, Monrad J, Kapel CMO (2017). Repeated inoculations with the lung and heartworm nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum result in increasing larval excretion and worm burden in the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, accepted.
4. Gillis-Germitsch N, Kapel CMO, Thamsborg ST, Deplazes P, Schnyder M (2017). Host-specific serological response to Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes): implications for parasite epidemiology. Parasitology, DOI:
5. Maksimov P, Hermosilla C, Taubert A, Staubach C, Sauter-Louis C, Conraths FJ, et al. (2017). GIS-supported epidemiological analysis on canine Angiostrongylus vasorum and Crenosoma vulpis infections in Germany. Parasites & Vectors 10:108.
6. Koch J, Willesen JL (2009). Canine pulmonary angiostrongylosis: An update. The Veterinary Journal 179, 348-359.
7. Webster P, Monrad J, Kapel CMO, Kristensen AT, Jensen AL, Thamsborg SM (2017). The effect of host age and inoculation dose on infection dynamics of Angiostrongylus vasorum in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Parasites & Vectors 10:4.
8. Ribeiro VM, Lima WS (2001). Larval production of cats infected and re- infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Nematoda: Protostrongylidae). Revue de Medicine Veterinaire 152, 815-820.
9. Taylor CS, Gato RG, Learmount J, Aziz NA, Montgomery C, Rose H, et al. (2015). Increased prevalence and geographic spread of the cardiopulmonary nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum in fox populations in Great Britain. Parasitology 142, 1190-1195.
10. Schnyder M, Jefferies R, Schucan A, Morgan ER, Deplazes P (2015). Comparison of coprological, immunological and molecular methods for the detection of dogs infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum before and after anthelmintic treatment. Parasitology 142, 1270-1277.
An Urban Experience

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