Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Canine neural angiostrongylosis

Synonym(s): Angiostrongylus cantonensis, CNA; rat lungworm

Contributor(s): Prof Richard Malik, Derek Spielman, Peter Irwin

Introduction

  • Cause: infection occurs after ingestion of snails and slugs infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis larvae.
  • Signs: spinal pain or hyperesthesia with ascending paralysis.
  • Diagnosis: history, clinical signs and findings.
  • Treatment: corticosteroids.
  • Prognosis: dependent on when dog presented.
Emerging infectious disease that is an important cause of eosinophilic meningitis in people. 

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Angiostrongylosis cantonensis, the rat lungworm.
  • The parasitic nematode commonly resides in pulmonary arteries of rats. Eggs hatch in the lungs and first stage larvae are passed in rodent feces. After ingestion, snails and slugs are the primary intermediate hosts.
  • The larvae develop in the snail to the infective L3 stage.
  • Larvae remain viable within a dead intermediate host for up to 11 days, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Dogs develop infections after eating molluscs containing infective larvae.

Predisposing factors

  • Dogs in close contact with rats (reservoir host).
  • Dogs that habitually ingest snails, slugs.

Pathophysiology

  • Infected larvae leave the gut and travel to the spinal cord and meninges.
  • Migrations of the larvae cranially within the spinal cord and meninges cause an ascending eosinophilic meningoencephalitis.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from VetMedResource and PubMed.
  • Stockdale Walden H D, Slapcinsky J D, Roff S et al (2017) Geographic distribution of Angiostrongylus cantonensis in wild rats (Rattus rattus) and terrestrial snails in Florida, USA. PLoS One 12 (5), e0177910 PubMed.
  • Barratt J, Chan D, Sandaradura I, Malik R, Spielman D, Lee R, Marriott D, Harkness J, Ellis J, Stark D (2016) Angiostrongylus cantonensis: a review of its distribution, molecular biology and clinical significance as a human pathogen.Parasitology 143 (9), 1087-1118 PubMed.
  • Aghazadeh M et al (2015) A survey of Angiostrongylus species in definitive hosts in Queensland. Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 4, 323 PubMed.
  • Walker A, Spielman D, Malik R, Graham K, Ralph E, Linton M, Ward M (2015) Canine neural angiostrongylosis: a case-control study in Sydney dogs. Aust Vet J 93 (6), 195-199 PubMed.
  • Lunn J A, Lee R, Smaller J et al (2012) Twenty two cases of canine neural angiostrongylosis in eastern Australia (2002-2005) and a review of the literature. Parasit Vectors 5, 70 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Malik R, Spielman D, Slapeta J (2013) Gone in the Back Legs. Microbiology Australia 34(1), 8-12


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