Veterinary Physiology

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Serosurvey of Canine Dirofilariasis in a Population of Southern Guatemala

Marieandrée Arimany* Unidad de Vida Silvestre de la Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia (FMVZ), Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC), Guatemala * Corresponding author: Marieandrée Arimany, Unidad de Vida Silvestre de la Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia (FMVZ) de la Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC). Email:


Introduction: Canine dirofilariasis, is a vector-borne disease caused by the parasitic filarial nematode named Dirofilaria immitis. Cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis is a worldwide distributed disease affecting domestic and wild canines as well as felines, causing pulmonary or cutaneous infections in humans. In recent years, scientists have reported the importance of investigating human cases of dirofilariasis since it can be easily confused with lung disease. Guatemala has a high-density of the canine population. Few studies have reported a high prevalence of canine dirofilariasis; nevertheless, knowledge in Guatemala of Dirofilaria immitis is scarce and practically inexistent. Given this, the current study aimed to explore the circulation of antibodies against D. immitis in dogs in the southern part of Guatemala. Materials and methods: Data were recollected from 110 male and female dogs aged more than a year from various breeds in the village “El Brito”, Escuintla, Guatemala. One milliliter of blood was collected from each dog. The samples were analyzed using ELISA test to examine the presence of antibodies in adult worms. Results: The prevalence determined for antibodies against Dirofilaria immitis of sampled canines was 2.7%, and the most frequent age of the canines was 1-3 years old (85%). Conclusions: According to the obtained data, the prevalence of canine dirofilariasis in a southern region of Guatemala was low.

  1. Introduction Canine dirofilariasis, also known as heartworm disease, is due to an infection by Dirofilaria immitis (D. immitis). Its importance, concerning the well-being of pets, has increased in recent years since it is one of the most common parasitic diseases in dogs and an emerging zoonosis1. This disease is distributed worldwide, with a prevalence ranging from 7.57% in Africa and 22.68% in Australia (Figure 1) 2. This prevalence is influenced by climate and topography, but most importantly, by the presence of the mosquito vectors, including ubiquitous Culex spp., Aedes spp., and Anopheles spp.3.

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