Hemostatic Dysfunction in Dogs Naturally Infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum—A Narrative Review

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This narrative review aims to describe Angiostrongylus vasorum-induced hemostatic dysfunction of dogs with emphasis on clinical and laboratory findings as well as potential therapeutic strategies for the bleeding patient. Canine angiostrongylosis (CA) is a disease with potentially high morbidity and mortality in endemic areas and with fatal outcome often associated with either severe respiratory compromise, pulmonary hypertension and right-sided heart failure, or hemostatic dysfunction with severe bleeding. The most common signs of hemorrhage are hematomas, petecchia-tion, ecchymoses, oral mucosal membrane bleeding and scleral bleeding, while intracranial and pulmonary hemorrhage are among the most severe. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying hemostatic dysfunction in these patients are presently researched. While the larval effect on platelets remains unknown, the parasite appears to induce dysregulation of hemostatic proteins, with studies suggesting a mixture of pro-coagulant protein consumption and hyperfibrinolysis. Importantly, not all dogs display the same hemostatic abnormalities. Consequently, characterizing the hemostatic state of the individual patient is necessary, but has proven difficult with traditional coagulation tests. Global viscoelastic testing shows promise, but has limited availability in general practice. Treatment of A. vasorum-infected dogs with hemostatic dysfunction relies on anthelmintic treatment as well as therapy directed at the individual dog’s specific hemostatic alterations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number249
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Bleeding, Canine angiostrongylosis, Coagulopathy, French heartworm, Hemostasis

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