"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

July 14, 2010

July 14 - Angiostrongylus vasorum

Angiostrongylus vasorum is commonly known as the "French heartworm", though unlike Dirofilaria immitis and D. ursis heartworms, this parasite is not a mosquito-borne filarial worm. Instead, this is a strongylid nematode, so like Strongyloides westeri. Both domestic and wild canids, especially foxes, are the vertebrate hosts for this parasite, but unlike the name suggests, the parasites are not purely confined to France, but are rather broad geographically. As you might guess, though, the adult worms reside in the host's heart. The eggs lodge themselves into lung capillaries and eventually the hatching larvae break through into the lung tissue where they get coughed up and swallowed, and passed out through the feces.

Image is from this site.

1 comment:

  1. These are also known as lung worms. Dogs can get them from eating slugs/snails/frogs, there's a fairly recent awareness campaign going on in the UK for them too.

    I had the pleasure of meeting one in person at work as a vet nurse, a pup coughed it up onto our floor and now it lives in a tube on the shelf, hehe.