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Dirofilaria infections in working dogs in Slovakia

  • M. Miterpáková (a1), D. Antolová (a1), Z. Hurníková (a1), P. Dubinský (a1), A. Pavlačka (a2) and J. Németh (a3)...

Abstract

A monitoring programme aimed at the diagnosis of subcutaneous dirofilariasis and heartworm disease in working (police and military) dogs in Slovakia has been performed during the period of September 2007 to February 2008. In co-operation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence, in total, 710 dogs (591 police dogs and 119 military dogs) were investigated for the presence of microfilariae in blood. All police and military dogs in active service held on the territory of Slovakia were included. Microfilariae were detected in 118 (20.0%) police dogs and 10 (8.4%) military dogs. The most infected individuals originated from southern parts of Slovakia (Trnava region 53.6% and Nitra region 39.6%); the prevalence was low in northern regions (Žilina 3.1% and Prešov 6.6%). In several districts of southern Slovakia, the prevalence of subcutaneous dirofilariasis in working dogs exceeded 40%. In all infected animals, the autochthonous origin of the disease was confirmed; however, due to the frequent movement of working dogs, it was not possible to identify the exact locality of infection. At present, a dog living in Nemšová village in Trenčín district (north-western part of the country) is regarded as the northernmost localized autochthonous case of subcutaneous dirofilariasis in Slovakia. In three dogs, co-infection of Dirofilaria repens and Dirofilaria immitis was detected. High prevalence rates in working dogs and the zoonotic characteristic of the disease represent an undoubtedly important veterinary and medical problem that requires the urgent introduction of prophylactic and control measures.

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