Adult worms that are located as small, painless, subcutaneous nodules are removed surgically. Anthelmintic therapy of canine dirofilarisis is indicated for dogs suffering from clinical signs, such as dermal swelling, sub-cutaneous nodules and pruritus. Combined therapy with the arsenic adulticide melarsomine and the avermectin microfilaricidal doramectin is effective in clearing infection with D. repens in a dog.
Recent studies have shown that tetracyclines inhibit the early development of filarial infections in animal models, presumably by elimination of Wolbachia, a bacteria endosymbiont of filarial nematodes, including D. repens.
The risk of infection can be also minimised by applying topical drugs which repel and kill the transmitting mosquitoes. Especially for regions, which harbour not only mosquitoes but also sand flies and ticks, it may be more suitable to use a broad-spectrum ectoparasiticide.
- Baneth G, Volansky Z, Anug Y, et al.: Dirofilaria repens infection in a dog: diagnosis and treatment with melarsomine and doramectin. Vet Parasitol. 2002, 105, 173-8
- Grandi G, Morchon R, Kramer L, et al.: Wolbachia in Dirofilaria repens, an agent causing human subcutaneous dirofilariasis. J Parasitol. 2008, 94, 1421-3
- McCall JW, Genchi C, Kramer L, et al.: Heartworm and Wolbachia: therapeutic implications. Vet Parasitol. 2008, 158, 204-14