RESEARCH IN VETERINARY SCIENCE, vol.82, no.3, pp.358-363, 2007 (SCI-Expanded)
This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis infection and to investigate the risk factors related to heartworm disease in dogs from Kayseri, Turkey. Blood samples were collected from 280 dogs from May 2005 to March 2006 and were examined by membrane filtration-acid phosphatase histochemical staining and antigen Elisa techniques to detect circulating microfilariae and antigens of D. immitis, respectively. Of the total of 280 dogs, 27 were positive for D. immitis with a prevalence value of 9.6%. In addition 29.6% of positive dogs determined to have occult D. immitis infections. D. immitis was the only canine filarial parasite present in the study area. The mean number of microfilariae in infected dogs was 4730 +/- 5479 per ml of blood. The highest heartworm prevalence were observed in 7-10 age group (28.6%) followed by 4-6 (17.1%) and 0.5-3 (4.8%) age groups. The differences between 0.5-3 and other age groups were found significant, whereas no statistically significant difference was observed between 4-6 and 7-10 age groups. The infection was more prevalent in males, larger breeds and the dogs not on prophylaxis. No statistically significant difference was observed between stray and owned dogs. Our results suggest that heartworm treatment and prophylaxis should be considered in Kayseri Province. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.