Lagochilascaris

(Lagochilascaris spp.)

Lagochilascaris spp. are nematodes found in Neotropical regions of Latin America. There are two species which affect domestic cats: L. minor and L. major. The adults are localized in abscesses in the neck region or in the oral cavity that tend to fistulise outward.

Parasite species: Lagochilascaris major, Lagochilascaris minor
Common name: Lagochilascaris
Hosts: Cats, dogs, wild felids, rodents and opossums
Pre-patent period: Between 17-26 days or more
Location in the host: The adults are inside nodules in the neck region or in the oral cavity. Less frequently, in the ears, tongue, eyes or pharynx
Distribution: Tropical areas in Central and South America
Transmission route: Indirect cycle, mice are the intermediate host
Zoonotic: Yes

Distribution

Lagochilascaris minor is the most important species infecting cats and it is found in several countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil.

Clinical signs

The most important clinical sign in cats is nodules, fistulized or not, in the neck or inside the mouth. Others signs are anorexia, dysphagia, mimic of touching the affected area, presence of an exudate in the neck, profuse salivation, cough, otitis, vestibular syndrome, neurological signs.

Diagnosis

The faecal floatation constitutes diagnostic method of choice in a patient where no nodule or fistula is found. Eggs are around 60 μm in diameter. Eggs have a thickened brown shell and approximately 15 to 25 pits around the circumference in L. minor and 33 to 45 in L. major. It is important to note that these eggs can be observed microscopically when studying the fistula fluid. The extraction of the worms under anaesthesia or sedation as required will allow their taxonomic identification.

Treatment

The treatment is with fenbendazole (50 mg/kg/day PO for 7 days) or ivermectin (0.4 mg/kg SC). Some authors recommend repeating at 15 days.

Prevention and Control

There is limited knowledge about the prevention and control of Lagochilascaris spp. infections in cats. As a general recommendation, preventing predation and scavenging activities as well as prompt removal of faeces is advised.

Public health considerations

Lagochilascaris minor is implicated in the human form of the disease. It is remarkable that the majority of cases of human lagochilascariasis in the Americas have been reported in Brazil [1].

References

[1] Campos DMB, Barbosa AP, Oliveira JA, Tavares GG, Cravo PVL, Ostermayer AL. Human lagochilascariasis-A rare helminthic disease. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11(6):e0005510