Background: Capillaria hepatica is a zoonotic parasite in humans and animals and has a worldwide distribution. However, infections in mammals apart from rodents, which are natural hosts of the parasite, have rarely been reported. This report describes the first known case of C. hepatica infection in a horse in Japan.
Case presentation: A 3-year-old filly without clinical signs was presented at a slaughterhouse in Japan. Gross examination revealed white to tan nodules 0.5 to 1.5 cm in diameter in the parenchyma of the liver. Histologically, the nodules had mature fibrous capsules and consisted of multifocal to coalescing granulomatous inflammations with numerous nematode eggs. The eggs were barrel shaped with an opercular plug on each end and double-layered shells; these findings are consistent with the features of C. hepatica eggs.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first case of C. hepatica infection in a horse in Japan. The pathological findings confirmed the presence of this pathogen in this part of the world, and they highlight the importance of this nematode in the differential diagnosis of hepatic granulomatous lesions in horses.
Keywords: Capillaria hepatica; Hepatic capillariasis; Horse.