Heartworm in a mute swan (Cygnus olor)

Tijdschr Diergeneeskd. 2009 Nov 1;134(21):882-4.


A severely emaciated female adult mute swan (Cygnus olor) was euthanized after a period of intensive supportive care in a wild bird rehabilitation centre. Necropsy revealed severe myocardial haemorrhages in the right ventricular free wall associated with the presence of adult heartworm (Sarconema eurycerca). On histological examination, multifocal randomly scattered blood-filled cavities without endothelial or epithelial lining (migration tracts) and surrounded by necrotic debris mixed with fibrinoid deposits and a mixed inflammatory infiltrate were seen, as well as mild multifocal degeneration and necrosis of adjacent myocardial fibres. In some of the lesions, cut sections of adult female filarial nematodes revealed numerous microfilariae in their uteri. This report is the first published case of Sarconema eurycerca in a mute swan in The Netherlands.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild / parasitology
  • Anseriformes / parasitology*
  • Bird Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bird Diseases / epidemiology
  • Bird Diseases / pathology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Filariasis / diagnosis
  • Filariasis / epidemiology
  • Filariasis / pathology
  • Filariasis / veterinary*
  • Heart / parasitology*
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • Netherlands / epidemiology