Efficacy of milbemycin oxime in chemoprophylaxis of dirofilariasis in cats

V. Ann Stewart From the Department of Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 (Stewart, Grieve), and Ciba-Geigy Agricultural Division, PO Box 48300, Greensboro, NC 27419 (Hepler).

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Douglas I. Hepler From the Department of Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 (Stewart, Grieve), and Ciba-Geigy Agricultural Division, PO Box 48300, Greensboro, NC 27419 (Hepler).

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Robert B. Grieve From the Department of Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 (Stewart, Grieve), and Ciba-Geigy Agricultural Division, PO Box 48300, Greensboro, NC 27419 (Hepler).

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Summary

Although cats are less susceptible to infection with Dirofilaria immitis than are dogs, the possibility of severe consequences from infection or adulticidal treatment renders preventive treatment a desirable alternative in endemic areas. To evaluate the efficacy of milbemycin oxime as a chemoprophylactic agent in cats, 48 cats were inoculated with infective D immitis larvae. Single oral treatment with 2.3 mg of milbemycin oxime (0.5 to 0.9 mg/kg of body weight) at 30 or 60 days after inoculation with infective larvae gave strong but incomplete protection. Treatment at 60, as well as 90, days after inoculation with infective larvae was completely effective in preventing development of infection. A control group of inoculated, but untreated, cats was monitored biweekly for hematologic changes and for changes in parasite-specific serum antigen and antibody concentrations. Pronounced increases in total leukocyte counts and eosinophil numbers were associated with the estimated time of in vivo molting from fourth- to fifth-stage larvae. Antibody reactivity correlated with infection status, but serum antigen concentrations through 161 days after inoculation were undetectable.

Summary

Although cats are less susceptible to infection with Dirofilaria immitis than are dogs, the possibility of severe consequences from infection or adulticidal treatment renders preventive treatment a desirable alternative in endemic areas. To evaluate the efficacy of milbemycin oxime as a chemoprophylactic agent in cats, 48 cats were inoculated with infective D immitis larvae. Single oral treatment with 2.3 mg of milbemycin oxime (0.5 to 0.9 mg/kg of body weight) at 30 or 60 days after inoculation with infective larvae gave strong but incomplete protection. Treatment at 60, as well as 90, days after inoculation with infective larvae was completely effective in preventing development of infection. A control group of inoculated, but untreated, cats was monitored biweekly for hematologic changes and for changes in parasite-specific serum antigen and antibody concentrations. Pronounced increases in total leukocyte counts and eosinophil numbers were associated with the estimated time of in vivo molting from fourth- to fifth-stage larvae. Antibody reactivity correlated with infection status, but serum antigen concentrations through 161 days after inoculation were undetectable.

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