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Angiostrongylus vasorum is a metastrongylid nematode parasite that resides in the pulmonary arteries and right ventricle of dogs and other canids. Since its discovery in France in 1866 by Baillet (Rosen and others 1970), A vasorum has been reported in dogs in Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK), Africa (Uganda), South America (Brazil and Columbia) and Canada (Newfoundland) (Brennan and others 2004, Bourque and others 2008, Traversa and Guglielmini 2008). It is widely assumed that foxes act as a reservoir of infection for dogs and a recent study has shown that infection is endemic in foxes in areas of the UK where there is a high incidence of A vasorum infection in canines (Morgan and others 2008). In the UK, canine A vasorum infection was first reported in Cornwall in 1982 (Simpson and Neal 1982) with further cases appearing in South Wales in 1987 (Patteson and others 1987, Trees 1987). In the past decade, the disease has been increasingly diagnosed in dogs in the south east of England (Chapman and others 2004) and recently an autochthonous case was reported in Glasgow (J. Dukes-McEwan, personal communication). There have so far been no published cases of canine A vasorum infection in northern England, and infection has been absent in foxes (Morgan and others 2008).
Although clinical signs in association with A vasorum infection in dogs can be variable, they typically represent three main syndromes: cardiorespiratory signs, coagulopathies and neurological dysfunction (Koch and Willesen 2008). Dogs with cardiorespiratory signs present with a history that may include chronic coughing, exercise intolerance, syncope, dyspnoea and tachypnoea (Bolt and others 1994), whereas the coagulopathies can result in anaemia, subcutaneous haematomas, internal haemorrhages and prolonged bleeding from wounds or after surgery (Ramsey and others 1996, …
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