Skip to main content Accessibility help

Geographical distribution of Angiostrongylus vasorum in foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the Republic of Ireland

  • G. MCCARTHY (a1), M. FERRAND (a2), T. DE WAAL (a3), A. ZINTL (a3), G. MCGRATH (a4), W. BYRNE (a5) and E. J. O'NEILL (a1)...


The reported incidence of the metastrongylid nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum, that infects dogs and other canids, is increasing worldwide outside recognized endemic foci. This apparent expansion of the parasite's range is causing concern to veterinary clinicians as the disease caused in dogs can be life threatening and its treatment is not straightforward. The red fox is thought to be a reservoir host for dogs. To investigate the spatial distribution of infection in foxes in Ireland, the hearts and lungs of 542 foxes from all over Ireland were examined. The incidence of infection was found to be 39·9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 35·7–44·1] with positive samples occurring in each of the country's 26 counties. This report confirms that the parasite is endemic in Ireland and the overall prevalence is the second highest in Europe. This is the first survey of A. vasorum infection in Irish foxes and highlights the potential exposure of the Irish dog population to high risk of cross-infection. Additionally, Crenosoma vulpis was found in seven of the foxes, a parasite not previously reported in the Irish fox.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Veterinary Clinical Sciences Section, School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland. E-mail:


Hide All
Bolt, G., Monrad, J., Henriksen, P., Dietz, H., Koch, J., Bindseil, E. and Jensen, A. (1992). The fox (Vulpes vulpes) as a reservoir for canine angiostrongylosis in Denmark. Field survey and experimental infection. Acta Veterinaria Scandanavica 33, 357363.
Bolt, G., Monrad, J., Koch, J. and Jensen, A. (1994). Canine angiostrongylosis: a review. Veterinary Record 135, 447452.
Brennan, S., McCarthy, G., McAllister, H., Basset, H. and Jones, B. (2004). Clinical signs, diagnosis and treatment of three dogs with angiostrongylosis in Ireland. Irish Veterinary Journal 57, 103109.
Conboy, G., Hare, J., Charles, S., Steeje, T. and Heine, J. (2009). Efficacy of a single topical application of Advantage Multi R (=Advocate R) Topical solution (10% Imidocloprid + 2·5% Moxidectin) in the treatment of dogs naturally infected with Crenosoma vulpis . Parasitology Research 105(Suppl.), S49S54.
Demiaszkiewicz, A., Pyziel, A., Kuligowska, I. and Lachowicz, J. (2014). The first report of Angiostrongylus vasorum (Nematoda; Metastrongyloidea) in Poland, in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Acta Parasitologica 59, 758762.
Dodd, K. (1973). Angiostrongylus vasorum (Baillet, 1866) infestation in a Greyhound Kennels. Veterinary Record 92, 195197.
Eleni, C., Grifoni, G., Di Egidio, A., Meoli, R. and De Liberato, C. (2014). Pathological findings of Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Central Italy, with the first report of a disseminated infection in this host species. Parasitology Research 113, 12471250.
Elsheikha, H., Holmes, S., Wright, I., Morgan, E. and Lacher, D. (2014). Recent advances in the epidemiology, clinical and diagnostic features and control of canine cardio-pulmonary angiostrongylosis. Veterinary Research 45, 92104.
Franssen, F., Nijsse, J., Cremers, H., Dam, C., Takumi, K. and van der Giessen, J. (2014). Increase in number of helminth species from Dutch red foxes over a 35-year period. Parasites and Vectors 7, 166176.
Gallagher, B., Brennan, S., Zarelli, M. and Mooney, C. (2012). Geographical, clinical, clinicopathological and radiographic features of canine angiostrongylosis in Irish dogs: a retrospective study. Irish Veterinary Journal 65, 514.
Guilhon, J. (1965). Transmission of Angiostrongylus vasorum (Baillet, 1866) to wild Canidae. Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences (Paris) Groupe 12. 261, 44964497.
Hayden, T. and Harrington, R. (2000). Exploring Irish Mammals. Town House and Country House Ltd., Dublin, Ireland.
Helm, J., Gilleard, J., Jackson, M., Redman, E. and Bell, R. (2009). A case of canine Angiostrongylus vasorum in Scotland confirmed by PCR and sequence analysis. Journal of Small Animal Practice 50, 255259.
Helm, J., Jackson, M. and Bell, R. (2010). Canine angiostronglyosis: an emerging disease in Europe. Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 20, 98109.
Hurnikova, Z., Miterpakova, M. and Mandelik, R. (2013). First authochthonous case of canine Angiostrongylus vasorum in Slovakia. Parasitology Research 112, 35053508.
Jacobs, D. and Prole, J. (1975). Angiostrongylus vasorum and other nematodes in British greyhounds. Veterinary Record 96, 180.
Jefferies, R., Shaw, S., Viney, M. and Morgan, E. (2009). Angiostrongylus vasorum from South America and Europe represent distinct lineages. Parasitology 136, 107115.
Jolly, S., Poncelot, L., Lempereur, L., Caron, Y., Bayrou, C., Cassart, D., Grimm, F. and Losson, B. (2015). First report of a fatal autochthonous canine Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in Belgium. Parasitology International 64, 9799.
Kistler, W., Brown, J., Allison, A., Nameth, N. and Yabsley, M. (2014). First report of Angiostrongylus vasorum and Hepatazoon from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) from West Virginia, USA. Veterinary Parasitology 200, 216220.
Koch, J. and Willesen, J. (2009). Canine pulmonary angiostrongylosis: an update. Veterinary Journal 179, 348359.
Levine, N. (1980). In Nematode Parasites of Domestic Animals and of Man, 2nd Edn. Burgess, Minneapolis, USA.
Magi, M., Guardone, L., Prati, M., Mignone, W. and Macchioni, E. (2015). Extraintestinal nematodes of the red fox Vulpes vulpes in north-west Italy. Journal of Helminthology 89, 506511.
Marnell, F., Kingston, N. and Looney, D. (2009). Ireland Red List No. 3: Terrestrial Mammals. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.
Martin, M. and Neal, C. (1992). Distribution of angiostrongylosis in Cornwall. Journal of Small Animal Practice 33, 327330.
Morgan, E. and Shaw, S. (2010). Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in dogs: continuing spread and developments in diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Small Animal Practice 51, 616621.
Morgan, E., Tomlinson, A., Hunter, S., Nichols, T., Roberts, E., Fox, M. and Taylor, M. (2008). Angiostrongylus vasorum and Eucoleus aerophilus in foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Great Britain. Veterinary Parasitology 154, 4857.
Morgan, E., Jefferies, R., Krajewski, M., Ward, P. and Shaw, S. (2009). Canine pulmonary angiostrongylosis: the influence of climate on parasite distribution. Parasitology International 58, 406410.
Morgan, E., Jeffries, R., van Otterdijk, L., McEniry, R., Allen, F., Bakewell, M. and Shaw, S. (2010). Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in dogs: presentation and risk factors. Veterinary Parasitology 173, 255261.
National Biodiversity Data Centre. (2015).
O'Neill, E., Acke, E., Tobin, E. and McCarthy, G. (2010). Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia associated with Angiostrongylus vasorum in a Jack Russell terrier. Irish Veterinary Journal 63, 434440.
Otranto, D., Cantacessi, C., Dantas-Torres, F., Brianti, E., Pfeffer, M., Genchi, C., Guberti, V., Capelli, G. and Deplazes, P. (2015). The role of wild canids and felids in spreading parasites to dogs and cats in Europe. Part II: Helminths and arthropods. Veterinary Parasitology 213, 2437.
Patteson, M., Gibbs, C., Wotton, P. and Day, M. (1993). Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in seven dogs. Veterinary Record 133, 565570.
Reilly, G., McGarry, J., Martin, M. and Belford, C. (2000). Crenosoma vulpis, the fox lungworm, in a dog in Ireland. Veterinary Record 146, 764765.
Roche, M. and KellIher, D. (1968). Angiostrongylus vasorum infestation in the dog: a case report. Irish Veterinary Journal 22, 108113.
Santoro, M., D'Alessio, N., Di Prisco, F., Neola, B., Restucci, B., Pagano, T. and Veneziano, V. (2015). Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in southern Italy. Acta Parasitologica 60, 356359.
Simin, S., Kosic, L., Kuruca, L., Pavlovic, I., Savovic, M. and Lalosevic, V. (2014). Moving the boundaries to the South-East: first record of autochthonous Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in a dog in Vojvodina Province, northern Serbia. Parasites and Vectors 7, 396400.
Simpson, V. (1996). Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Cornwall. Veterinary Record 139, 443445.
Taylor, C., Gato, R., Learmount, J., Aziz, N., Montgomery, C., Rose, H., Coulthwaite, C., McGarry, J., Forman, D., Allen, S., Wall, R. and Morgan, E. (2015). Increased prevalence and geographic spread of the cardiopulmonary nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum in fox populations in Great Britain. Parasitology 142, 11901195.
Thrusfield, M. (1986). Veterinary Epidemiology, 1st Edn. Butterworth–Heinemann, Oxford, UK.
Tolnai, Z., Szell, Z. and Sreter, T. (2015). Environmental determinants of the spatial distribution of Angiostrongylus vasorum, Crenosoma vulpis and Eucoleus aerophilus in Hungary. Veterinary Parasitology 207, 355358.
Tonsberg, H. (2006). Epidemiological study of snail intermediate hosts in the life cycle of Angiostrongylus vasorum in Denmark . MSc. thesis. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, KVL, Copenhagen.
Williams, J., Lindemann, B., Padgett, G. and Smith, O. (1985). Angiostrongylosis in a greyhound. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 186, 11011103.
Wolfe, A., Hogan, S., Maguire, D., Fitzpatrick, C., Vaughan, L., Wall, D., Hayden, G. and Mulcahy, G. (2001). Red foxes in Ireland as hosts for parasites of potential zoonotic and veterinary significance. Veterinary Record 149, 759763.
Yamakawa, Y., McGarry, J., Denk, D., Dukes-McEwan, J., Macdonald, N., Mas, A., McConnell, E., Tatton, B., Valentine, E., Williams, J. and Hetzel, U. (2009). Emerging canine angiostrongylosis in northern England: five fatal cases. Veterinary Record 164, 149152.
Zarelli, M., Shiel, R., Gallagher, B., Skelly, C., Calahan, S. and McAllister, H. (2012). CT findings in a dog with intracranial haemorrhage secondary to angiostrongylosis. Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound 53, 420423.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed