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Aberrant migration of Dirofilaria immitis in the peritoneum of a dog
  1. Courtenay Brines1,
  2. Prince Agbedanu2,
  3. Rachel Juelsgaard3,
  4. Steve Carlson2 and
  5. Matthew Brewer3
  1. 1The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa, USA
  3. 3Department of Veterinary Pathology, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matthew Brewer, brewermt{at}


Dirofilaria immitis is the causative agent of heartworm disease in North America. The adult nematodes are typically found in the pulmonary arteries leading to respiratory, cardiac and systemic illness. In this report, the authors describe an aberrant migration of adult D immitis associated with fibrinous lesions in the peritoneum of a dog. The nematode was recovered during routine ovariohysterectomy. Examination of the organism revealed that the anterior end of the nematode contained several insignificant cranial papillae and no lips while the caudal region contained two rows of papillae. Histological examination demonstrated coelomyarian musculature and prominent lateral internal cuticular ridges. Subsequent amplification of a region of the 16S rRNA gene confirmed the authors’ diagnosis of D immitis. Diagnosis of nematode parasites often heavily relies on the location of the worm and the identity of the host. This case highlights the use of integrating morphological, histopathological and molecular data in order to identify an aberrantly migrating nematode which is important for diagnostic, public health and epidemiological purposes.

  • Heartworm Disease
  • Parasitology
  • Aberrant Migration
  • Dirofilariasis
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