Comparison of coprological, immunological and molecular methods for the detection of dogs infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum before and after anthelmintic treatment.

PMID 26036271


Timely diagnosis of the nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum in dogs is important in view of severe and permanent lung and cardiovascular lesions that may occur. The performance of the classical Baermann coprological method was compared with ELISAs for the serological detection of circulating antigen and specific antibodies and with Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) performed on EDTA blood, feces and tracheal swabs of serial samples from experimentally inoculated dogs over 13 weeks post inoculation (wpi) (n = 16) and following anthelmintic treatment (n = 6). Patency was observed from 6.7 to 7.6 wpi in all dogs, Baermann results were then mostly positive (116/119, 97%) during the patent period, with wide variations in the numbers of first stage larvae numbers. Blood PCR was tested positive on 1-2 occasions in 11/16 dogs in the pre-patent period, while all tested positive by antibody-detection ELISA by 6 wpi. The proportion of dogs testing positive by fecal PCR and antigen-detection ELISA rose early in the patent period. Tracheal swabs were occasionally DNA-positive in 3/16 dogs starting from 10 wpi. Following treatment, larval excretion stopped within 3 weeks and blood PCR results became negative within 1 week (5/6 dogs), while 4/6 dogs were positive for parasite DNA in tracheal swabs. Parasite antigen and specific antibodies both persisted in the blood for 3-9 weeks after treatment, with average optical densities and the proportion of positive dogs falling gradually, while results using other tests were much more variable. Results indicate that the earliest and most consistent results are obtained by the ELISAs, which can also be used for monitoring dogs after anthelmintic treatment.