Alveolar echinococcosis (AE), a parasitic disease primarily of the liver caused by the larval stage of Echinococcus multilocularis, is highly endemic in Switzerland. In contrast to well-established management protocols in people, little is known with regard to optimal treatment strategies in dogs. The objective of this study was to describe the clinical signs and diagnostic procedures in dogs with AE and to evaluate outcome following medical treatment alone or surgery and medical treatment. Of 23 putative AE cases between 2004 and 2014, 20 were classified as confirmed (n=18) or probable (n=2) AE, based on abdominal ultrasound, serology, cytology, histology and/or PCR. Most dogs presented with abdominal distension in an advanced stage of disease. Dogs receiving specific treatment (radical or debulking surgery together with medical treatment, or medical treatment alone) survived longer than dogs left untreated, but no difference was found between treatment types. Survival at one year was associated with absence of free abdominal fluid, absence of abdominal distension and treatment of any type. However, dogs treated with debulking surgery all faced relapse. Findings of this study suggest that in AE-affected dogs for which a therapeutic approach is regarded appropriate by owners and veterinarians, radical surgical resection and medical treatment or, if total resection is not possible, medical treatment alone should be considered. However, studies on larger numbers of dogs are necessary before definitive treatment recommendations can be made.
- alveolar echinococcosis
- debulking surgery
- Diagnostic imaging
- Accepted October 18, 2015.
- British Veterinary Association