Sunday, 16 June 2024

Dirofilariosis in dogs and cats

23 April 2021


Both dogs and cats are exposed to many different diseases, which can cause their owners considerable worries. For this reason, every owner of such an animal should know as much as possible about the most common ailments in order to be able to take appropriate steps towards their treatment. An example here is dirofilariosis, for causing which are responsible nematodes dirofilaria. It can occur in two forms - cardiovascular and subcutaneous.

The most common form of the disease is the cutaneous form caused by the nematode Dirofilaria repenes. The cardiovascular form is much less common and is caused by Dirofilaria immitis. Relatively recently it has been discovered that these parasites also occur in the colder climate of the eastern regions of Europe. Until now science was convinced that the place of their occurrence was exclusively warm countries in the south. In countries such as Poland the disease was associated only with dogs that left with their owners to exotic, warm countries. It was not thought that an animal could catch it "on the spot". Meanwhile, it was discovered that the parasite is quite common in our climate as well.

It was first discovered in the 1920s. The first recorded case was in Brazil, and the parasite was observed in a cat. The problem also affects these animals or ferrets, but the most vulnerable are dogs. On the other hand, the disease in a dog or ferret is much more difficult to treat and more dangerous.

Dirofilariosis - symptoms

Symptoms of the disease are usually evident in slightly older animals. For the first six months of a dog's life, there are virtually no signs that a parasite has nested in its body. In adult dogs, symptoms are most often associated with problems with the circulatory system. The animal may experience breathing problems - breathing becomes unnaturally fast. The doctor may also find heart failure and excessive venous dilatation. The dog's condition is significantly worse and it tires much faster with any effort.

Dirofilariosis in a cat treatment


Dirofilariosis in a cat, in a dog

Symptoms in a cat differ slightly from those in a dog. In this case, we are dealing primarily with problems with the digestive system. The animal has excessive salivation, diarrhea and vomiting. Sometimes also nervous system disorders with convulsions appear.

Dirofilariosis - treatment

Dirofilariosis, depending on its form, can be treated both pharmacologically and surgically. If the cardiovascular form of the disease resulted in a complication in the form of vena cava syndrome, surgery is necessary. Subcutaneous dirofilariosis is treated both surgically and with drugs. Surgical procedures are only effective here if the exact location of the parasite in the animal's body is known. There are a number of pharmacological agents for controlling the parasite. These include melarosmine, doramectin or moxidectin, among others.