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News Article

Evidence of widespread drug resistance in hookworms from U.S. dogs


Study has important implications for parasite control

A study published in PLoS Pathogens reports evidence of benzimidazole drug resistance in hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum) from domestic dogs throughout the USA. The study claims to be the first to show geographically widespread drug resistance in a gastrointestinal worm of domestic dogs from anywhere in the world.

The multidisciplinary study was a part of the thesis work of PhD candidate Abhinaya Venkatesan at the University of Calgary and was a collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Calgary, the University of Georgia, Northwestern University and University of California, San Francisco.

A molecular genetic approach was used to investigate benzimidazole resistance in A. caninum. The researchers first identified two drug resistance mutations in the genome of the parasite, including a novel benzimidazole isotype-1 β-tubulin resistance mutation. The molecular genetic information was then used to screen 685 faecal samples from hookworm-positive dogs from across the USA. It was found that over 50 per cent of the dogs were infected with drug-resistant hookworms.

The canine hookworm is a common intestinal zoonotic parasite of dogs with severe clinical impacts in young dogs, and for which control is dependent on regular anthelmintic use.

The researchers previously reported multiple anthelmintic drug resistance in A. caninum isolates from greyhounds in the USA, likely caused by long standing intensive treatment regimens in kennels. They say their latest findings in pet dogs have important implications for companion animal parasite control and the potential emergence of drug resistance in human hookworms.

A similar approach is planned to assess the current situation in the Canadian pet dog population.

Article: Venkatesan, A., Jimenez Castro, P. D., Morosetti, A., Horvath, H., Chen, R., Redman, E., Dunn, K., Collins, J. B., Fraser, J. S., Andersen, E. C., Kaplan, R. M., Gilleard, J. S. (2023). Molecular evidence of widespread benzimidazole drug resistance in Ancylostoma caninum from domestic dogs throughout the USA and discovery of a novel β-tubulin benzimidazole resistance mutation. PLoS Pathogens, 19(3), e1011146, doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1011146

For more information, see University of Calgary News: New study finds drug-resistant parasites are widespread in pet dogs across U.S.

Article details

  • Date
  • 21 March 2023
  • Source
  • University of Calgary
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals