Background and objectives: The present study was carried out to assess the presence of canine Dirofilaria immitis infection in pet dogs in China. Materials and methods: From October 2018 to November 2019, a total of 216 sera were collected from pet hospitals in Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Fujian regions of Eastern China. The sera were tested by using a commercial canine heartworm antibody ELISA test kit. Results: 70.8% of the pets had significant clinical symptoms resembled to heartworm infection; the overall dirofilariosis positivity found was 12.5% (27/216); Significant positive rates differences were observed between symptomatic and asymptomatic dogs (P < 0.05) (i.e. 15.7% and 4.7% respectively). The prevalence of infection in Shandong Province (15.5%) was the highest among the surveyed areas, but the difference among the geographic regions was not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Furthermore, the prevalence detected in summer (28.2%) was significantly higher than in other seasons (P < 0.05). In addition, no significant difference was observed between male and female sex (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Altogether, these results suggest that an epidemic of dirofilariosis exists in eastern coastal China, as such preventive measures should be taken to control the spread of dirofilariosis to reduce the risk of human and pet infection with heartworm.
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