Objective – The aim of this article is to review Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in dogs, including the life cycle, signalment, clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment. Apparent changes in the epidemiology of this unique parasite are considered, alongside information available regarding its recent geographic spread.
Etiology – A. vasorum is a metastrongyloid parasite capable of causing an array of clinical problems in dogs, including cardiorespiratory, coagulopathic, and neurologic signs. Currently, the parasite has a worldwide distribution; however, it usually arises in small pockets of enzootic foci. Recent reports suggest a changing distribution of this parasite, which has renewed interest in its epidemiology and in the risk of expansion to new areas including mainland North America.
Diagnosis – A definitive diagnosis of angiostrongylosis is usually made using the modified Baermann technique either using feces or tracheobronchial secretions; however, this review also discusses novel methods such as serologic and molecular techniques.
Therapy – Once a diagnosis of angiostrongylosis is made, prompt treatment should follow with anthelmintic drugs (such as moxidectin/imidacloprid, milbemycin oxime, or fenbendazole) and supportive care dependent upon the patient's clinical signs. Currently, there is no proven prophylactic regime.
Prognosis – The prognosis appears to be very dependent upon the severity of clinical signs at presentation. A. vasorum can be fatal and death may be sudden. However, if a prompt diagnosis is made and appropriate treatment is administered complete clinical resolution is possible.