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Slugs and Angiostrongylus vasorum – how much do we know?
  1. M. Schnyder, Dr Med Vet, DiplEVPC
  1. Institute of Parasitology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 266a, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland e-mail:

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THE numerous case reports, prevalence studies and clinical surveys published in the past few decades confirm the international success of Angiostrongylus vasorum. Accordingly, in the UK, its spread from single endemic spots in Cornwall (Martin and Neal 1992) and south Wales (Patteson and others 1993) to wider areas in southern (Blehaut and others 2014) and northern England (Yamakawa and others 2009) has been documented. The reasons for the apparent success of this parasite are attributed to a multitude of factors, including changes in the population of intermediate and final hosts, increased disease awareness and better diagnostic tools. Due to the broad range of clinical manifestations (Koch and Willesen 2009), and the challenge to diagnose this parasite before dogs die of a parasitosis that could be treated with appropriate anthelmintics, information about the occurrence of A vasorum is important.

The first endemic case in a dog in Scotland was described in 2009 (Helm and others 2009). A study by Helm and colleagues (2015), summarised on p 46 of this issue of Veterinary Record, reports on the occurrence of A vasorum in slugs. Of the intermediate hosts collected in three defined areas around Glasgow, 6.7 per cent were positive for A vasorum DNA. The prevalence was highest in the area of the so-called index case, with gastropod species in the Arionidae, Limacidae and Milacidae families being positive for A vasorum. This indicates that active transmission of A vasorum has persisted over time in this focal area. In addition, positive snails were …

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