Dirofilaria repens is a parasitic nematode in the subcutaneous tissue of carnivores, including dogs and cats, transmitted by mosquitoes. Human beings may be accidental hosts. Infection of a dog with D repens was first reported in Palestine in 1934, and 2 additional cases were reported in dogs in Israel to date. This report describes D repens infection in 4 dogs in Israel that presented with subcutaneous masses, which were cytologically characterized by marked mast cell and eosinophil infiltration. In 3 cases, multiple microfilariae were present in the lesions; rare microfilariae were present in the 4th case. In all 4 dogs, PCR of fine-needle aspirates from the lesions were positive for D repens. The mast cells observed in all lesions were uniform and highly granulated, and with the presence of the microfilariae, a mast cell tumor was considered less likely. This report suggests that D repens infection-associated subcutaneous lesions, characterized cytologically by massive mast cell and eosinophil infiltration, should be considered a differential diagnosis for mast cell tumor, especially in geographic locations endemic for this nematode. Notably, all 4 dogs were infected with D repens despite a routine prophylactic doramectin therapy administered every 3 months, probably due to the relatively long time interval between treatments.
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© 2016 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology
- Cutaneous dirofilariasis
- mast cell