Cardiopulmonary nematode infections in wild canids: Does the key lie on host-prey-parasite evolution?

Francisco José Martínez-Rondán, María Rocío Ruiz de Ybáñez, Ana María López-Beceiro, Luis Eusebio Fidalgo, Eduardo Berriatua, Liron Lahat, Irene Sacristán, Álvaro Oleaga, Carlos Martínez-Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiopulmonary nematodes are among the most pathogenic parasites of domestic and wild canids. The aim of this study was to describe the species diversity, prevalence and infection intensity of these parasites in the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. 257 foxes and 74 wolves were necropsied between 2008 and 2014. Four nematode species were identified: Angiostrongylus vasorum, Eucoleus aerophilus, Crenosoma vulpis and Filaroides hirthi. This last species was only found in wolves, being the first time that is cited worldwide in this wild canid. The overall parasite prevalence was significantly higher in foxes (70%) than in wolves (28%). Specifically, prevalences in foxes and wolves were, respectively, 43% and 22% for A. vasorum, 33% and 5% for E. aerophilus, and 30% and 9% for C. vulpis. The prevalence of F. hirthi was 16%. The A. vasorum intensity was significantly higher in foxes than in wolves. Differences between host species in the risk of infection would be associated to diverging feeding behavior, and possibly reflects a parasite-host adaptation related to host's hunting strategies and cardiorespiratory requirements. This study revealed an association between infection and environmental factors, and highlighted a wide variation in the spatial distribution of A. vasorum. Our results indicate that cardiopulmonary parasites are widespread in wild canids in northwest Spain, and further agrees with other studies indicating the expansion of A. vasorum in Europe and, therefore, the urgent need to investigate infection in dogs in sympatric areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Cardiopulmonary parasites
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Iberian wolf
  • Red fox
  • Spain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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