Extensive Aberrant Migration of Onchocerca lupi in a Dog. Academic Article uri icon


  • A 13-year-old Labrador retriever mixed breed dog from Arizona was presented for evaluation of an acute onset of a head tilt as well as vocalization and head shaking upon palpation of the ears. The dog was previously treated for ocular onchocercosis associated with the right eye 10 years earlier. Ophthalmic examination at presentation revealed irregular, tan-colored, masses on the sclera of both eyes. Otoscopic evaluation of the left ear was limited because the canals were stenotic and inaccessible. Cytology did not reveal any infectious etiologies and the dog was subsequently treated with an anti-inflammatory dose of prednisone for 10 days. Two weeks later the dog developed a mild dysphonia and stridor that eventually progressed to include difficulty breathing. The dog was euthanized and postmortem examination revealed white-to-tan nodules identified in the episclera, trachea, subcutis around the nares, external ear canals, and within the fascia overlying the temporalis muscle, as well as in the parietal pleura, and pericardium. There was also a large mass that obliterated the laryngeal cartilage that partially occluded the laryngeal opening. Microscopically, the described nodules consisted predominately of lakes of abundant mineralized debris, admixed with granulomatous inflammation centered around degenerate nematodes that were subsequently confirmed by PCR and sequence analysis to be Onchocerca lupi. The veterinary literature is comprised of only 2 reports that describe aberrant O. lupi migration to the trachea and larynx. Here, we provide the first detailed description of a dog with extensive aberrant onchocercosis.

published proceedings

  • Top Companion Anim Med

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Wallitsch, K., Jaffey, J. A., Ferguson, S., Verocai, G. G., Sobotyk, C., van Eerde, E., & Bashaw, S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Wallitsch, Kimberly||Jaffey, Jared A||Ferguson, Sylvia||Verocai, Guilherme G||Sobotyk, Caroline||van Eerde, Eric||Bashaw, Sarah

publication date

  • April 2022