Recently, Dr. Barbara Lewis, veterinary pathologist at the College Station laboratory, was featured in the December issue of Veterinary Pathology: Regional Studies and Reports. Lewis co-authored a journal article over filarial dermatitis caused by Filaria taxideae in domestic ferrets. The abstract is below. Read the full article by clicking here.
Filaria taxideae is a common subcutaneous filarial parasite of American badgers (Taxidea taxus) that has also been reported in skunks in the Western USA. Dermatitis associated with this parasite has been reported in badgers and skunks; however, many individuals have no gross lesions. With the exception of a captive red panda in California, there have been no reports of F. taxidae infection in domestic or exotic/pet animals. In this case series, we document F. taxideae in domestic ferrets from California, Texas, and Colorado and describe the clinical presentation, gross and histologic lesions, and the molecular characterization of this parasite. In two cases, ferrets were positive on Dirofilaria immitis antigen tests but had no evidence of heartworm infection suggesting that F. taxideae antigens can cross-react. These findings indicate that F. taxideae should be considered in cases of dermatitis in ferrets in areas where this parasite may occur.