To describe the novel PCR diagnosis and outcome of intestinal Echinococcus multilocularis in a dog.
A 13-month-old female intact dog with naturally occurring intestinal E multilocularis.
CLINICAL PRESENTATION, PROGRESSION, AND PROCEDURES
The 13-month-old dog initially presented with a reduced appetite and weight loss and then developed hematochezia. The clinical history included a lack of endoparasite preventive care (fecal testing, deworming), exposure to coyotes, fox, sheep, and rodents and the dog had intermittently been fed a raw food diet. Physical examination revealed a thin dog, with a 2/9 body condition score, that was otherwise clinically unremarkable. A fecal sample was submitted for screening for gastrointestinal parasites as part of an infectious disease assessment. The fecal PCR test reported detection of E multilocularis. This result was sequenced as the European haplotype E3/E4. Centrifugal flotation (same sample) did not detect taeniid eggs.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME
The dog was treated with metronidazole, maropitant, and milbemycin oxime/praziquantel. Clinical improvement was noted within 48 hours. No DNA of E multilocularis was detected in a fecal sample collected approximately 10 days after treatment. The dog’s owner was advised to provide monthly deworming (praziquantel) for all dogs on the property and to contact their human health-care provider due to potential zoonotic exposure risk.
Increasing detection of E multilocularis is occurring in dogs in Canada and the US. Alveolar echinococcosis can cause severe disease in dogs and humans. Fecal PCR detection and surveillance may alert practitioners to canine intestinal cases and allow dogs to serve as sentinels for human exposure risk.