Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Capillaria (Pearsonema) plica

Synonym(s): Pearsonema plica, C. plica

Contributor(s): Ian Wright, Stephen Barr




  • Superfamily: Trichuroidea.
  • Genus: Capillaria (sometimes attributed to genus Pearsonema, use of either name is acceptable).

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Clinical Effects



  • Adult worm in bladder and occasionally ureters and pelvis of the kidney of the dog, fox, artic fox, coyote, jackal as well as other canids. Also described in cat, raccoon, skunk, etc.
  • Egg in soil.
  • Infective larva in earthworm intermediate host.


  • Adult.
  • Egg.
  • Obligatory earthworm intermediate or paratenic host.


Transmission to earthworm

  • Eggs passed in urine and develop to infective L1 in environment.

Transmission to dog

  • Ingestion of earthworm containing larvae.

Pathological effects

  • Not known.
  • No apparent age immunity. Prevalence increases in older carnivore populations as a result.
  • Usually non-pathogenic.
  • Capillaria plica buries its anterior end into the submucosa of the bladder inducing submucosal edema and a mild inflammation.


Control via animal

  • Anthelmintic treatment.
  • Remove from access to earthworms, eg through use of concrete rather than grass runs for kenelled dogs.
  • Consider all dogs in same environment potentially infected.
  • Reducing urine contamination of kennel run areas where earthworms may be exposed to eggs.

Control via chemotherapies

  • No conclusive evidence for effective chemotherapy. Repeat treatments often required in the event of an outbreak and all in contact dogs should be treated or regularly urine tested for evidence of infection. Treated dogs should have urine tests for infection immediately post treatment and 2-4 months post treatment.
    Either Ivermectin Ivermectin (200 mcg/kg) (not licensed for use in dogs). Single reports of efficacy in dogs and at 600 mcg/kg in raccoons.
    Toxic in Collie and Collie crosses.Or Albendazole (50 mg/kg for 10-14 days) (not licensed for use in dogs). A report of promising results in a kennel.
    Or Fenbendazole Fenbendazole (50 mg/kg for 3 days) (unlicensed use in dogs). A report of efficacy but also a report of lack of efficacy for 2 courses of treatment.

Control via environment

  • Egg susceptible to desiccation in sunlight. Runs and kennel areas should be kept as dry and clean as possible.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Basso W, Spänhauer Z, Arnold S et al (2014) Capillaria plica (syn. Pearsonema plica) infection in a dog with chronic pollakiuria: challenges in the diagnosis and treatment. Parasitol Int 63 (1), 140-142 PubMed.
  • Fernández-Aguilar X, Mattsson R, Meijer T et al (2010) Pearsonema (syn Capillariaplica associated cystitis in a Fennoscandian artic fox (Vulpes lagopus): a case report. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 52, 39 PubMed.
  • Sréter T, Széll Z, Marucci G et al (2003) Extraintestinal nematode infections of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Hungary. Vet Parasitol 115 (4), 329-334 PubMed.
  • Senior D F, Solomon G B, Goldschmidt M H et al (1980) Capillaria plica infection in dogs. JAVMA 176 (9), 901-905 PubMed.

Other sources of information