BACKGROUND: Angiostrongylus vasorum is a nematode that primarily infects Canidae. The adult parasites are found in the pulmonary arterial circulation and the right side of the heart. The most common clinical sign is respiratory dysfunction. Bleeding, neurological, ocular, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders are also reported. Skin lesions are very unusual.
HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: This report describes a nematode dermatitis due to A. vasorum infection. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first case of a dog infected with this parasite that initially presented with skin lesions only.
ANIMAL: A 3-year-old female Weimaraner dog presented with a crusted papular dermatitis on the bridge of the nose and on the pinnae, and an erythematous pododermatitis with erosions and perionyxis of one digit of 1 week's duration. Two weeks later the dog developed respiratory distress.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Skin scrapings and fungal culture were negative for parasites and dermatophytes. Histopathological examination showed dermal granulomas and pyogranulomas with eosinophils centred around parasitic elements compatible with nematode larvae. Angiostrongylus vasorum DNA was demonstrated in skin biopsies. Chest radiographs were compatible with verminous pneumonia and a Baermann test revealed A. vasorum larvae. The dog was treated orally with fenbendazole, with rapid improvement and complete cure after 3 months.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Angiostrongylus vasorum should be considered in dogs presented with skin lesions and respiratory signs. Skin biopsy, chest radiographs and Baermann test should be included in the diagnostic investigation.