OCCURRENCE OF FILARID PARASITES IN HOUSEHOLD AND SHELTERED DOGS IN THE CITY OF JOINVILLE – SANTA CATARINA, BRAZIL

Abstract Parasites from the Filariidae family are among the nematodes that can infest dogs. Some may be apathogenic, such as Acanthocheilonema reconditum, and others such as Dirofilaria immitis are potentially zoonotic and may lead dogs to death. Thus, the aim of this study was to perform a survey on filarid infection in dogs with a fixed domicile and wandering dogs temporarily sheltered in the city of Joinville, SC, Brazil. Blood samples from 429 animals were collected from 2015 to 2017 and submitted to screening for microfilariae and/or D. immitis antigens. Our results revealed that twenty-four samples (5.6%) displayed A. reconditum microfilariae and three samples (0.7%) were positive for D. immitis, totaling 27 (6.3%) positive animals for filarid parasites. Additionally, A. reconditum was more prevalent in dogs from shelters, whereas the three D. immitis positive samples were from household dogs that displayed no clinical signs of the presence of parasites. The occurrence of these parasites in dogs from Joinville indicates the importance of differential diagnosis of microfilaria species for the correct clinical management of infected dogs. Our epidemiological information may help the medical and veterinary community of the region regarding clinical suspicion of canine and human heartworm disease, as well as guide preventive actions targeting public and animal health.