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Keratitis due to microfilariae in dogs: a newly recognized disease

Morales, Adriana, Perlmann, Eduardo, Abelha, Aline Nayara Vechiato, Levy, Carlos Emilio, de Goes, Ana Carolina Almeida, Safatle, Angélica M. V.
Veterinary ophthalmology 2018 v.21 no.3 pp. 305-311
adults, biopsy, collagen, cornea, dogs, domestic animals, epithelium, heartworms, histopathology, hyperemia, inflammation, ivermectin, keratitis, microfilariae, ophthalmology, pruritus, remission, skin lesions, Brazil
Parasitic agents have been associated with keratitis, but a diagnosis of parasitic keratitis has not been commonly made in domestic animals. The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical and histopathological findings in seven dogs with chronic keratitis caused by microfilariae diagnosed in Brazil. All dogs presented with superficial corneal opacities of varying degrees affecting the perilimbal and central regions of the cornea, with other opaque areas appearing as crystalline deposits and corneal vascularization. The lesions were bilateral and were associated with mild‐to‐moderate conjunctival hyperemia. There was no history of blepharospasm or pruritus, and no subjects presented with epithelial erosions. Corneal biopsy revealed free microfilariae in the corneal stroma, with varying degrees of inflammation and collagen fiber destruction. The microfilariae were also found in skin lesions by skin snip technique. No adult worms were found in these dogs, and no dogs were on heartworm preventative before diagnosis. Monthly doses of oral ivermectin improved ocular and dermal lesions. One dog showed complete remission with the treatment. The species of the microfilariae was not identified.