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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2016, Article ID 5780408, 6 pages
Research Article

A Homemade Snare: An Alternative Method for Mechanical Removal of Dirofilaria immitis in Dogs

1CIISA, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, ULisboa, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal
2Cardiology Unit, Hospital de Santa Marta, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central, EPE, Rua de Santa Marta 50, 1169-024 Lisboa, Portugal
3Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, ULisboa, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 12 October 2015; Revised 31 December 2015; Accepted 14 January 2016

Academic Editor: Sumanta Nandi

Copyright © 2016 Ana Margarida Alho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Canine dirofilariosis is a life-threatening parasitic disease that is increasingly reported worldwide. Once diagnosed the main treatment goals are to improve the animal’s clinical condition and to eliminate all life stages of the parasite with minimal posttreatment side effects. This can be achieved through mechanical, surgical, or chemotherapeutical approaches. Currently, manual extraction is the preferred method to remove adult heartworms due to its diminished invasiveness, reduced damage to the vascular endothelium, and shortened anaesthesia duration. However, it remains an expensive technique that can be highly traumatic. To address this issue, a nontraumatic homemade catheter-guided snare was developed for heartworm removal by adapting and folding a 0.014-inch coronary wire (BMW, Abbott Vascular). Transvenous heartworm extraction was performed on a dog severely infected with adult heartworms by inserting the modified snare into a 6-F Judkins right coronary guiding catheter BMW (Cordis) and advancing it into the right ventricle under fluoroscopic guidance. Fifteen adult specimens of Dirofilaria immitis were successfully extracted from the pulmonary artery and right ventricle without complications. To assure the death of both larvae and adults, postoperative treatment was successfully managed using ivermectin, doxycycline, and melarsomine, with no recurrence after surgery.