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Bilateral femoral arterial dirofilariasis caused by Dirofilaria immitis in a dog


A two-year-old intact male Anatolian shepherd dog presented with a one-month history of bilateral hindlimb lameness and digital necrosis. Supportive evidence of systemic arterial parasitism included ultrasonographic findings of parallel hyperechoic thrombi in the femoral arteries consistent with the presence of nematodes. Worms retrieved during arteriotomy were identified as adult Dirofilaria immitis using light and scanning electron microscopy. Treatment included adulticidal therapy, bilateral femoral arteriotomies and finally, bilateral amputation at the level of the tarsocrural joints followed by external coaptation with walking bars. This is the 10th reported case of femoral arterial dirofilariasis causing clinical disease in a dog, and the first in which bilateral amputation was performed. Systemic arterial dirofilariasis should be on the list of differential diagnoses for any animal in a heartworm endemic area that presents with hindlimb lameness or necrosis, especially if the animal has weak femoral pulses.

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dogs
  • Helminthology
  • Nematodes
  • Endoparasites
  • Diagnostic imaging
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