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First report of Angiostrongylus vasorum in coyotes in mainland North America
  1. Jenna Marie Priest1,2,
  2. Donald T Stewart1,
  3. Michael Boudreau2,
  4. Jason Power2 and
  5. Dave Shutler1
  1. 1 Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
  2. 2 Wildlife Division, Department of Lands and Forestry, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. E-mail for correspondenceDepartment of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville NS B4P 2R6, Canada ; jennamariepriest{at}gmail.com

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Angiostrongylus vasorum, commonly known as French heartworm, is a metastrongyloid nematode widely distributed in Europe, South America and Africa. This helminth uses gastropods as intermediate hosts, and has as definitive hosts various species of canids including foxes, coyotes and domestic dogs. Clinical signs of A vasorum include respiratory distress and bleeding disorders. Infection may take months to detect and present no clinical signs, but can also lead to death. As part of a larger study on coyotes, helminths were extracted from tracheae, hearts and lungs using a flushing technique. Four out of 284 coyotes were infected with A vasorum, confirmed by sequencing the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (cox1) on the mitochondrial genome. To our knowledge, this is only the second report of coyotes infected with A vasorum in North America, and the first for mainland North America. Veterinarians now need to watch for clinical signs of this parasite in domestic dogs.

Coyotes (Canis latrans) evolved in savannah, prairie and woodland habitats,1 but now are commonly found in urban areas.2–4 As contact becomes more frequent between coyotes and humans, coyotes have begun ingesting higher proportions of anthropogenic food.4–7 This change in diet brings coyotes into close contact with domestic dogs (C familiaris), leading to increased risk of both species exchanging parasites and permitting prolonged …

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