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Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 1987 Nov;17(6):1307-39.

Ascarid infections of cats and dogs.

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Department of Pathology, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins.


The ascarids Toxocara canis, Toxocara cati, and Toxascaris leonina are probably the most common gastrointestinal helminths encountered in small animal practice. Both T. canis and T. cati can cause serious disease in kittens and puppies; T. leonina is generally less pathogenic. Prenatal transmission assures that virtually all puppies are born infected with T. canis. Transmammary transmission is probably the major route of infection for kittens with T. cati. In addition, all three species of worm produce resistant eggs and use paratenic hosts to facilitate transmission. Much is now known about the complex biology and life history of T. canis. However, many questions, such as those concerning the mechanisms of larval survival within host tissues and of larval reactivation and migration during pregnancy, await further study. The mechanism of resistance to ascarid infections in cats and dogs has not been clearly defined. Ascariasis is traditionally thought to be a disease of young animals, with older animals being considered immune. However, at least in the case of T. canis, adult dogs can be repeatedly infected. A wide range of anthelmintics is available with extremely high efficacy against patent ascarid infections. The problem of prenatal infection with T. canis may be overcome by strategic use of the newer benzimidazole-carbamates, and the production of ascarid-free puppies now seems possible. However, complete larvicidal activity against somatic stages has not been convincingly demonstrated. Visceral larva migrans-like syndromes are now being recognized in dogs and cats. In addition, visceral larva migrans in children due to T. canis continues to be a significant zoonotic disease in North America and underscores the need for the veterinary profession to control ascarid infections in cats and dogs at every opportunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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