Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

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Capillaria spp. (dog, cat)



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Distribution: worldwide

Host:   Final hosts are foxes, dogs and cats and infective larvae are ingested from the environment or from earthworms. 

Life Cycle: The defnitive host is probably infected by ingestion of eggs containing infective larvae, although an earthworm intermediate host may be involved.   Pre-patent period is 4 weeks and patent period Is 10–11 months. 

Diagnosis: Most infections are discovered at routine autopsy. Eggs are detected by fecal fotation examination or in tracheal or nasal mucus samples. The eggs are clear to golden (E. boehmi) or brownish green (E. aerophilus), are bipolar plugged, tend to be asymmetrical in shape, and contain a multicelled embryo.    


Clinical features: Mild infections are usually asymptomatic.  Heavy infection of C. hepatica can result in hepatic lesions and hepatic capillariosis is usually fatal.  Capillaria philippinensis in the small intestine can cause fatal enteropathy.
Zoonosis: The three species can infect man: C. philippinensis, C. hepatica and C. aerophila. 

Capillaria philippinensis infects the small intestine and is largely found in the Philippines with sporadic outbreaks in southern Europe.

Capillaria hepatica infection is acquired through the ingestion of soil or via contaminated food or water. 

Human capillariosis from C. aerophila infection is very rare.


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