Skip to Content


Pronunciation: di'ro-fil-a-ri'a-sis

Definition: Infection of animals and, rarely, humans with nematodes of the genus Dirofilaria; cats are an atypical host and are susceptible to very samll worm burdens, even a few worms may lead to sudden death. In dogs, the definitive hosts, clinical signs include dyspnea, cough, reduced exercise tolerance, and weight loss. In cats, sudden death, vomition, and less commonly, a syndrome resembling asthma may occur. Microfilariae circulate in the bloodstream where they are picked up by mosquito vectors; death of the adult worms during treatment may release antigens in the bloodstream, which can lead to serious side effects including anaphylaxis, expecially in cats. Human infection is typically subclinical, with development of small pulmonary nodules that are often only picked up when they are confused with small tumors on X-ray.

Disclaimer: This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only. The health information furnished on this site and the interactive responses are not intended to be professional advice and are not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.
© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.