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A round-up if the latest literature on fleas, ticks, and other parasites

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01 November 2016, at 12:00am

Evidence-based treatment for ear mite infestation in cats

Ching Yang and Hui-Pi Huang, National Taiwan University, Taipei

Otodectes cynotis is a psoroptid mite that accounts for between 50 and 80% of cases of otitis externa in cats. An infestation will cause irritation within the ear canal leading to pruritis and erythema, and may also lead to secondary infections with Staphylococcus and Malassezia species.

The authors carried out a systematic review of the efficacy of treatments for O. cynotis infestations without limitations on language or publication date but restricted to in vivo studies. They found 17 different pharmacological interventions in 27 trials published between 1978 and 2015. Their findings suggest there is reasonable evidence for recommending 10% imidacloprid spot- on with 1% moxidectin or selamectin either as a single treatment or twice, 30 days apart.

While other treatments apparently showed high efficacies, there was insufficient evidence to support their use, due to the poor quality of the study designs. Further blinded randomised controlled trials using placebo or appropriate active drugs would be needed to properly assess their clinical efficacies.

Veterinary Dermatology 27 (4): 221-234. 

Protocol for controlling Giardia duidenalis in group-houses dogs

Meriam Saleh and others, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg 

Giardia duodenalis is an enteric protozoan parasite with a broad range of hosts, including humans and dogs. The authors describe a protocol developed to control an outbreak of disease in a group of dogs kennelled at a veterinary medical college. Dogs were treated with 50mg/kg fenbendazole daily for 10 days and on day five they were bathed and moved into clean, disinfected quarters in another room to allow for disinfection of their assigned kennels. The protocol was successful in controlling the parasite despite exposure of the dogs to a variety of environments and frequent handling by multiple individuals. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249 (6): 644-649. 

Successful treatment of Demodex gatoi with imidacloprid and moxidectin 

Jean-marie Short and Dunbar Gram, Animal Allergy and Dermatology, Chesapeake, Virginia 

Demodex gatoi is a short-bodied mite that lives in the stratum corneum of cats.

It causes moderate to intense pruritis, leading to self-induced alopecia and excoriations. The authors describe the use of a 10% imidacloprid/1% moxidectin topical treatment administered weekly to each animal in a household of 13 cats, eight of which showed clinical signs of mite infestation. Skin scrapings following treatment were negative and all affected animals showed improvement in their clinical signs of miliary-type popular dermatitis and focal erythema.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 52 (1): 68-72. 

Treatment of canine flea allergy dermatitis with fluralaner

Petr Fisara and others, MSD Animal Health, Seven Hills, New South Wales

Fluralaner is an isoxazoline systemic insecticide and acaricide that has shown persistent flea-killing activity on dogs for 12 weeks. However, demonstrating an improvement in clinical signs of flea-allergy dermatitis can be difficult because of the confounding effects of other dermatoses. 

The authors assessed the efficacy of  fluralaner in an open- label study involving a single treatment in 20 client-owned dogs with clinical signs of flea-allergy dermatitis. At four weeks and 12 weeks post-treatment, active signs had resolved in all dogs, but two showed mild signs at the eight-week stage.

Veterinary Dermatology 26 (6): 417-420. 

Clinical relevance and perspective on bovine neosporosis

Fernando Lopez-Gatius and others, University of Lleida, Spain

Neospora caninum is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite first described in dogs in 1984. It was later shown to infect a range of mammalian species and has become a major cause of abortion in cattle worldwide. Currently, there is no effective treatment or vaccine for use against this parasite. 

The authors review the epidemiology of the disease and the prospects and recommendations for its control. They note that the antibody titre, rather than just seropositivity, is a cost-effective marker for the diagnosis of bovine neosporosis and for assessing the abortion risk in herds. 

 Cattle Practice 24 (1): 15-21. 

In vitro effects of cysteine protease inhibitors on Trichomonas foetus

Katherine Tolbert and others, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Trichomonas foetus is a flagellated enteric protozoan that is one of the main causes of chronic diarrhoea in cats. Cysteine proteases are important virulence factors that mediate the cytopathic effects of similar organisms in cattle and humans. 

The authors examined the effects of specific cysteine protease inhibitors in an in vitro study involving porcine intestinal epithelial cells experimentally infected with T. foetus. Their findings showed that these agents were capable of inhibiting regions of cysteine protease activity that have been suggested to cause intestinal cell damage in cats.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 77 (8): 890-897. 

Afoxolaner treatment in dogs with Demodex canis infections

Fernando Chavez, Veterinaria Bertchi, Lima, Peru

Afoxolaner (Nexgard; Merial Animal Health) is an isoxazoline parasiticide used for treating and preventing fleas and ticks. The author investigates the efficacy of treatment with this agent in dogs with naturally occurring Demodex canis mites. 

It was given as a single tablet containing 2.5mg/kg afoxolaner on three occasions over an eight-week period to four dogs with demodicosis confirmed by skin scrapings. A dramatic reduction in the recovery of live mites was observed at four weeks following the first treatment. Each dog was negative for the parasite when examined at eight and 12 weeks.

International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine 14 (2): 123-127. 

Decontamination of laundry exposed to Microsporum canis spores

Karen Moriello, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Environmental decontamination is an important part of the treatment of cats infected with the fungal parasite Microsporum canis. The author examined the efficacy of decontamination in fabric exposed to M. canis hairs and spores, using mechanical washing in hot or cold water, with or without bleach (sodium hypochlorite). 

Her findings show that washable textiles can be decontaminated in a standard washing machine in cold water without the addition of bleach. However, two wash cycles are recommended for complete removal of spores and care should be taken that the machine is not overloaded.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18 (6): 457-461. 

Micro laria in a mammary mass aspirate from a female dog

Hilary Burgess and Brent Wagner, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon

Mammary masses were identified in an 11.5-year-old spayed female shih tzu cross that had been imported into Canada from Myanmar around four months previously. A fine needle aspirate revealed filarial nematode larvae. 

As the animal had possibly been exposed to the parasite in Asia, a broad range of possible species was considered but the organism was eventually found to be Diro laria immitus, a heartworm species present in both countries. After successful treatment for heartworm the patient was lost to follow-up and no further investigations were carried out on the origin of the mass.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57 (4): 374-376. 

Effects of drought on the efficacy of anthelmintic treatment

Claire Okell and others, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire

Internal parasites are a significant determinant of the productivity of ruminants in the tropics. The authors investigated the owners’ perception of the impact of anthelmintic treatment on the health and productivity of sheep and goats in two drought-prone areas of northern Kenya. 

Their results showed that anthelmintics were not perceived to influence small ruminant health or productivity during droughts, but were seen to benefit productivity when administered during the rainy season.

Tropical Animal Health and Production 48 (3): 493-500. 

Anthelmintic resistance in gastro-intestinal nematodes of Australian cattle

Stephanie Bullen and others, University of Melbourne 

Increased grazing pressure has intensified exposure to gastrointestinal parasites in the dairy industries of Australia and New Zealand. The authors investigated the extent of anthelmintic resistance in cattle on 20 commercial farms in Victoria. Anthelmintic resistance was present on all of them, 70% showed evidence of doramectin resistance, 80% had fenbendazole-resistant worms and levamisole resistance was present in 25% of the properties examined. 

They note that this is the first report of anthelmintic-resistant Ostertagia ostertagi on Australian dairy farms.

Australian Veterinary Journal 94 (1-2): 35-41. 

Treatment of liver abscesses caused by the liver fluke Metorchis conjunctus

Julie Lemetayer and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

The North American liver fluke (Metorchis conjunctus) is transmitted through eating raw fish and the parasite has been reported in humans and various other piscivorous species. 

The authors describe the case of a one-year-old German shepherd x husky that was diagnosed with multiple liver abscesses and severe cholangitis secondary to infection with this fluke species. The dog was successfully treated with two percutaneous transhepatic drainage and alcoholisation procedures, and a prolonged course of antibiotics and praziquantel.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57 (6): 605-609.