Second-stage larvae of the dog nematode Toxocara canis are infective to man and cause the syndromes of visceral larva migrans and ocular toxocariasis. Larvae cultured in vitro secrete proteases which degrade components of a model of extracellular matrix and basement membranes. These enzymes have been characterized using a variety of techniques. Multiple enzyme activities were demonstrated by substrate gel electrophoresis, associated with proteins of molecular weights of 120 and 32 kDa. The enzyme activity was inhibited both in substrate gels and in a radiogelatin microplate assay by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride. Optimal activity occurred at pH 9, with minor activities apparent at pH 5 and 7; the relationship between these proteolytic activities is currently under investigation.