In vivo confocal microscopy for detection of subconjunctival Onchocerca lupi infection in a dog

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A seven-year-old male castrated mixed-breed dog was diagnosed with bilateral subconjunctival masses. In vivo confocal microscopy facilitated visualization of Onchocerca lupi adult nematodes and their characteristic cuticular morphology. Long, thin, white nematodes were extracted during excisional biopsy. Histopathologic and parasitologic evaluation confirmed the diagnosis of O. lupi. In addition to surgical debulking of the parasitic granulomas, the dog received systemic doxycycline, prednisone, and ivermectin therapy. In vivo confocal microscopy was repeated one year after initial diagnosis, and no remaining nematodes were visible. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of use of in vivo confocal microscopy as a noninvasive diagnostic and monitoring tool for canine onchocerciasis.

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