ABSTRACT: A 7-year-old castrated male Golden Retriever cross was evaluated because of intermittent blood-tinged diarrhea, severe weight loss, anorexia, and lethargy of 2 months' duration; the dog was unresponsive to antimicrobial and standard anthelmintic treatment. Results of fecal flotations for parasite ova were negative. Alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase activities and total protein and globulin conentrations were greater than reference ranges. Biopsy specimens were obtained during laparotomy and examination revealed multiple granulomatous lesions with helminth ova nidi in the intestine, pancreas, liver, and mesenteric lymph node. Saline solution direct smear and saline solution sedimentation of feces yielded trematode ova that were morphologically consistent with Heterobilharzia americana. Identification was confirmed when miracidia were hatched from these ova and produced characteristic cercariae from infected snails. An antigen capture ELISA, typically used for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis in humans, was performed, and schistosome circulating anodic antigen was detected. Treatment with 30 mg of praziquantel/kg (14 mg/lb) of body weight stopped ova shedding, removed detectable circulating antigens, and caused the dog's body weight and attitude to return to normal. Although this is the first report of canine heterobilharziasis in North Carolina, it suggests that heterobilharziasis is underdiagnosed in dogs that have contact with water frequented by raccoons. Inappropriate diagnostic procedures can foil accurate detection of this parasitic disease.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 02/2002; 220(2):193-6, 183. · 1.79 Impact Factor