To evaluate the efficiency and safety of a doramectin-based treatment protocol in dogs affected by intraspinal spirocercosis (Spirocerca lupi).
Client-owned dogs that were admitted to a veterinary hospital during 2021 to 2022 with acute onset of neurological signs and diagnosed with intraspinal spirocercosis. All dogs underwent complete neurological evaluation, CSF analysis, PCR confirmation of CNS S lupi infection, and follow-up evaluation of at least 6 months.
Upon diagnosis, dogs were treated with doramectin at a dose of 400 μg/kg, SC, q 24 h for 3 consecutive days, followed by the same dose once a week for 6 weeks. Prednisone was administered at a dose of 1 mg/kg, PO, q 24 h and tapered every 3 days. Antimicrobial clindamycin was administered at a dose of 12.5 mg/kg, PO, q 12 h for 7 days to reduce the risk of secondary spinal cord infection. Short- and long-term outcomes (1 week to 56 months) were recorded.
8 dogs fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 7 of which presented with neurological deficits and 1 with cervical pain. Initiation of treatment was associated with stopping the deterioration in 7 of 8 dogs. Seven dogs improved and 6 recovered ambulation. One dog was euthanized due to lack of improvement. Six of the recovered dogs were still ataxic on the last follow-up examination at 6 to 56 months. No adverse effects of the drug were noted.
Frequent administration of doramectin was found to be safe and effective in preventing neurological deterioration in dogs with intraspinal spirocercosis.