Case Description—A 21-month-old spayed female Border Collie was examined because of progressive right forelimb lameness, signs of pain, and subcutaneous edema. The dog lived in a fenced yard in Tampa, Fla, that contained a small area of marshy terrain.
Clinical Findings—The subcutis and intermuscular fascia contained multiple cystic cavities filled with larval cestodes (plerocercoids or spargana) and cloudy red fluid. Parasites were identified morphologically and by DNA sequence analysis as pseudophyllidean cestodes, most likely Sparganum proliferum. The dog developed a progressively worsening fever, dyspnea, mature neutrophilia, and hypoproteinemia. Septic pleuritis and peritonitis complicated the later stages of the disease.
Treatment and Outcome—Treatment with praziquantel, fenbendazole, and nitazoxanide failed to control the proliferation and dissemination of larval cestodes. The dog was euthanatized after 133 days of treatment. At necropsy, numerous parasitic tissue cysts were present in the subcutis and intermuscular fascia; these cysts were most abundant in the soft tissues of the forelimbs and cervical musculature. The pleural and peritoneal cavities contained multiple larval cestodes and were characterized by neutrophilic inflammation and secondary bacterial infection.
Clinical Relevance—Findings indicated that clinical signs associated with proliferative sparganosis in dogs may be rapidly progressive and that the condition may be refractory to antiparasitic treatment. Veterinarians should be aware of this zoonotic, water-borne agent.