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Parassitologia. 2004 Dec;46(4):409-12.

The diagnosis of Echinococcus granulosus in dogs.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Animale, Sezione di Parassitologia e Malattie Parassitarie, University of Sassari, Italy.


The problem of diagnosing Echinococcus granulosus in dogs has still only been partially resolved, even after the advent of biotechnology. The eggs of taeniid Cestoda are extremely similar, and thus identification by microscopic examination of the faeces is risky and non-specific. For this reason, Echinococcus granulosus was traditionally diagnosed in dogs ante mortem after an arecoline hydrobromate purge. The faeces were examined macro and microscopically to establish if the adult tapeworm or its proglottids were present. Although this method is 100% specific, it is bio-hazardous and time-consuming, requires trained personnel, and its sensitivity varies. In the 1990s copro-antigens were discovered and characterised. These are released by the adult worm in the faeces. This made it possible to use enzyme-linked immune-adsorbent assay (ELISA) for in vitam diagnosis of Echinococcus granulosus. In recent years several PCR protocols have been published on the identification of Echinococcus granulosus DNA from eggs or from adult parasites and new ways of diagnosing this cestode have been developed.

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