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Therapeutic management of Dirofilariosis with breast lump in a bitch.


Filariasis is a disease of great public health importance in India. Canine filariosis is caused mainly by filarial nematodes belonging to Dirofilaria, Dipetalonema and Brugia species (Ambily, 2009). Dirofilaria repens is primarly a canine parasite found to be zoonotic in human beings (Sabu et al., 2005). The common clinical signs of filariosis includes anorexia, fever, conjunctivitis, limb and scrotal oedema. Dirofilariosis presented as breast lump is rare in canines. In humans, one such case is reported recently from Kerala (Sapna et al., 2014). A case of dirofilariasis of breast occurring in a four year old female Dachshund in presented in detail.

History and Observation

A four year old female Dachshund was presented with history of reduced feed intake, vomiting and fever for last three days. The temperature, pulse and respiration rates were 103.2"F, 110/minute and 28/minute respectively. The visible mucous membranes were pale. On wet blood film examination, moving microfilariae (+++) could be detected. On clinical examination, breast lumps and milk like secretions in nipple could be observed. Haematological analysis revealed leukocytosis (12000/ with neutrophilia (80%), and anaemia with haemoglobin of 8g%, RBC of 3.9 million/ and PCV of 24%.

Nipple secretion was collected and fluid obtained was subjected to cytological examination. Smears were prepared from secretion, stained with Giemsa stain and observed under high power microscope. Cytological examination of nipple secretions revealed clusters of glandular cells characterized by mild pleomorphic appearance and presence of several inflammatory cells. The smears (Fig. 1) also contained numerous microfilariae (Manuali et al., 2005).

Peripheral blood smears were prepared and subjected to Giemsa staining and histochemical staining. Giemsa staining of blood smears revealed numerous non sheathed microfilariae. Histochemical staining of microfilariae revealed acid phosphatase activity at anal pore only.

Treatment and discussion

Non sheathed microfilaria that had acid phosphatase activity at anal pore only is Dirofilaria repens (Fig. 2) in accordance with findings of Balbo and Abate (1972) and Radhika (2005). Based on clinical findings, Giemsa staining and histochemical staining of smears, the condition was diagnosed as Dirofilariosis. The common clinical signs of filariosis includes anorexia, fever, conjunctivitis, limb and scrotal oedema. Dirofilariosis presented, as breast lump is very rare in canines. The animal was successfully treated with Levamisole @10 mg/kg b.wt. once daily for 10 days orally. Also given Imferona injection 1ml intramuscularly. Advised oral hematinic @ 3ml bid orally as a supportive therapy. The animal showed an uneventful recovery.


Ambily, V.R. (2009). Clinico-Therapeutic Studies on Canine Microfilariosis. Post Graduate Thesis. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur. p.140.

Balbo, T. and Abate, O. (1972). Histochemical differentiation of microfilariae of Dirofilaria immitis, Dirofilaria repens, Dipetalonema sp. Parasitologia 14: 239-44.

Manuali, E., Eleni, C., Giovannini, P., Costarelli, S. and Ciorba, A. (2005). Unusual finding in a nipple discharge of a female dog--Dirofilariasis of the breast. Diag. Cytopath. 32: 108-09.

Radhika, R. (1997). Prevalence, Clinical Pathology and Treatment of Microfilariasis in Dogs in Thrissur. Post Graduate Thesis, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur. p.122.

Sabu, L., Devada, K. and Subramanian, H. (2005). Dirofilariosis in dogs and humans in Kerala. Indian J. Med. Res. 121: 691-93.

Sapna, M., Magdalene, K.F. and Vasanthi, M.S. (2014). A case of Dirofilariosis presenting as breast nodule. Int. J. Phar. Res. Hlth. Sci. 2: 118-20.

V.R. Ambily (1), Usha Narayana Pillai (2) and P.P. Kanaran (3)

Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) Mannuthy Thrissur--680651 (Kerala)

(1.) Assistant Professsor and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Associate Professor

(3.) Deputy Director, Department of Animal Husbandry
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Ambily, V.R.; Pillai, Usha Narayana; Kanaran, P.P.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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