Background: Dogs experimentally inoculated with Angiostrongylus vasorum develop severe pulmonary parenchymal lesions and arterial thrombosis at the time of patency.
Hypothesis: A. vasorum-induced thrombosis results in arterial hypoxemia, pulmonary hypertension (PH), and altered cardiac morphology and function.
Animals: Six healthy Beagles experimentally inoculated with A. vasorum.
Methods: Thoracic radiographs and arterial blood gas analyses were performed 8 and 13 weeks postinoculation (wpi) and 9 weeks posttherapy (wpt). Echocardiography was done before and 2, 5, 8, 13 wpi and 9 wpt. Invasive pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) measurements were obtained 8 wpi. Two untreated dogs were necropsied 13 wpi and 4 treated dogs 9 wpt.
Results: All dogs had patent infections at 7 wpi and clinical respiratory signs at 8 wpi. Moderate hypoxemia (median PaO2 of 73 and 74 mmHg) present at 8 and 13 wpi had resolved by 9 wpt. Echocardiographically, no evidence of PH and no abnormalities in cardiac size and function were discernible at any time point. PAP invasively measured at 8 wpi was not different from that of control dogs. Severe radiographic pulmonary parenchymal and suspected thrombotic lesions at 13 wpi were corroborated by necropsy. Most histopathologic changes had resolved at 9 wpt, but focal inflammatory, thrombotic, and fibrotic changes still were present in all dogs.
Conclusion: In experimentally infected Beagles, pulmonary and vascular changes induced by A. vasorum are reflected by marked radiographic changes and arterial hypoxemia. These did not result in PH and echocardiographic changes in cardiac size and function.