Serological detection of circulating Angiostrongylus vasorum antigen and specific antibodies in dogs from central and northern Italy.Vet Parasitol. 2013 Feb 18; 192(1-3):192-8.VP
The most frequently employed method for the diagnosis of Angiostrongylus vasorum in dogs is the detection of first stage larvae (L1) in faeces. The sensitivity of coproscopy, however, is limited in case of low parasite load, intermittent larval excretion, and during pre-patency. An epidemiological survey on dogs was conducted applying serological methods in two Italian regions where angiostrongylosis is endemic in foxes. 265 dog serum samples from Tuscany (central Italy - site A) and 447 from Liguria (north-western Italy - site B) were tested with a sandwich-ELISA for detection of circulating antigen, and with an ELISA using A. vasorum adult somatic antigen purified by monoclonal antibodies for specific antibody detection. During previous examinations dogs naturally infected with Leishmania infantum (n=149), Dirofilaria immitis (n=40), Dirofilaria repens (n=30), Acanthocheilonema reconditum (n=27), Crenosoma vulpis (n=1), A. vasorum (n=2), Capillaria aerophila (n=35), Capillaria boehmi (n=3), Toxocara canis (n=68), Toxascaris leonina (n=5), hookworms (n=37) and Trichuris vulpis (n=39) were detected. Sera of these dogs were used to evaluate cross reactions. In site A, 2 dogs (0.8%) were seropositive for antibody and antigen detection and 4 (1.5%) for antibody detection only. From site B, 4 dogs (0.9%) were seropositive for both tests, while other 4 dogs (0.9%) for antigen detection only and 9 dogs (2%) for antibody detection only. Considering a subgroup of 347 dogs from site B which had also been tested with the Baermann technique, 2 (0.6%) were positive for both tests, 4 (1.2%) for antigen detection only and 9 (2.6%) for antibody detection only. The two dogs which were positive for both serological tests were also positive for A. vasorum L1 in the faeces. No significant difference in seropositivities was observed in the group of dogs with other proven parasitic infections. A. vasorum serology presents significant advantages (diagnosis before patency, single serum sample instead of repeated faecal samples, rapidity and affordability particularly in case of large number of samples) and it can be considered a valid alternative for diagnosis in individuals and in epidemiological studies.