Publications by authors named "Maria Alfonsa Cavalera"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Efficacy of a spot-on formulation containing moxidectin 2.5%/imidacloprid 10% for the treatment of Cercopithifilaria spp. and Onchocerca lupi microfilariae in naturally infected dogs from Portugal.

Parasit Vectors 2021 Apr 13;14(1):199. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Global Health and Tropical Medicine (GHTM), Instituto de Higiene E Medicina Tropical (IHMT), Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA), Lisboa, Portugal.

Background: Onchocerca lupi and Cercopithifilaria spp. are vector-borne filarioids of dogs, which harbour skin microfilariae (mfs), the former being of zoonotic concern. Proper treatment studies using compounds with microfilaricidal activity have not been performed. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the efficacy of a commercially available spot-on formulation containing moxidectin 2.5%/imidacloprid 10% for the treatment of O. lupi or Cercopithifilaria spp. skin-dwelling mfs in naturally infected dogs.

Methods: Privately owned dogs (n = 393) from southern Portugal were sampled via skin biopsies to identify and count mfs in 20 µl of skin sediment. A total of 22 mfs-positive dogs were allocated to treatment group (n = 11; G1) or left untreated as a control (n = 11; G2). As a pilot investigation to test the treatment efficacy, five dogs assigned to G1 were treated four times at monthly intervals with moxidectin 2.5%/imidacloprid 10% spot-on formulation on SDs 0, 28 (± 2), 56 (± 2), and 84 (± 2). Based on the negative results for both O. lupi and/or Cercopithifilaria spp. mfs of dogs in the pilot study from SD28 onwards, the remaining six dogs in G1 were treated at SD0 and assessed only at SD28.

Results: Of the 393 animals sampled, 78 (19.8%) scored positive for skin-dwelling mfs. At the pilot investigation, a mean number of 19.6 mfs for O. lupi was recorded among five infected dogs whereas no mfs were detected at SD28. At SD0, the mean number of Cercopithifilaria spp. larvae was 12.6 for G1 and 8.7 for G2. The mean number of mfs for G2 was 20.09.

Conclusions: Results herein obtained suggest that a single treatment with moxidectin 2.5%/imidacloprid 10% spot-on formulation is efficacious against skin-dwelling mfs in dogs. The microfilaricidal effect of moxidectin could also be useful in reducing the risk of O. lupi infection for humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04704-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8042703PMC
April 2021

Clinical and Histopathological Features of Renal Maldevelopment in Boxer Dogs: A Retrospective Case Series (1999-2018).

Animals (Basel) 2021 Mar 13;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 13.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, 70010 Valenzano, Italy.

Renal maldevelopment (RM) has been proposed to replace the old and sometimes misused term "renal dysplasia" in dogs. Although renal dysplasia has been described in Boxers, hereditary transmission has only been hypothesized. This study reports clinical and renal histological findings in Boxer dogs with RM, proposing a possible mode of inheritance. Medical records of 9 female Boxer dogs, older than 5 months and with a clinical diagnosis of chronic kidney disease prior to one year of age, were retrospectively reviewed. Polyuria and polydipsia (PU/PD), decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy and weakness were described in all affected dogs. Common laboratory findings were proteinuria, diluted urine, non-regenerative anemia, azotemia, hyperphosphatemia, hypoalbuminemia and hypercholesterolemia. Histopathology of the kidneys revealed the presence of immature glomeruli in all dogs, which is consistent with RM. In 7 related dogs, the pedigree analysis showed that a simple autosomal recessive trait may be a possible mode of inheritance. Renal maldevelopment should be suspected in young Boxer dogs with a history of PU/PD, decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, weakness and proteinuria. Due to its possible inheritance, an early diagnosis of RM may allow clinicians to promptly identify other potentially affected dogs among the relatives of the diagnosed case.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11030810DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001074PMC
March 2021

Clinical, haematological and biochemical findings in tigers infected by Leishmania infantum.

BMC Vet Res 2020 Jun 22;16(1):214. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, 70010, Valenzano, Italy.

Background: A large number of animal species are susceptible to Leishmania infantum (Kinetoplastida, Trypanosomatidae) in endemic areas, including domestic and wild felids such as tigers (Panthera tigris). Knowledge on the infection of this endangered species is still at its infancy, and therefore this study aims to identify clinical presentation and clinicopathological findings of tigers naturally infected by L. infantum.

Results: Tigers either L. infantum-positive (group A) or -negative (group B) were apparently healthy or presented visceral leishmaniasis unrelated conditions, except for one animal in which a large non-healing cutaneous lesion was observed. However, histological exam and immunohistochemistry carried out on the lesion excluded the presence of L. infantum amastigotes. Biochemical analysis showed that the average concentration of total proteins, globulins and haptoglobin were significantly higher (p < 0.01, p = 0.01 and p = 0.02, respectively), while the albumin/globulin ratio significantly lower (p = 0.05) in group A compared with group B. The biochemical alterations were partially confirmed by the serum protein electrophoresis results revealing a significant increase in the total protein value (p = 0.01) and hypergammaglobulinemia (p = 0.03) but an unmodified albumin/globulin ratio in group A.

Conclusions: In this study tigers infected by L. infantum have shown to be mainly asymptomatic. The absence of clinical signs may lead veterinarians to overlook leishmaniasis in animals kept in captivity. Therefore, diagnostic and screening tests as serology should be part of routinely surveillance programs to be performed on tigers in zoological gardens located in endemic areas. Though only few protein-related laboratory abnormalities were recorded in infected animals, they could provide diagnostic clues for a first suspicion of L. infantum infection in tigers. Indeed, considering the high risk of zoonotic transmission in heavily frequented environment as zoos, a prompt diagnosis of L. infantum infection is of pivotal importance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-020-02419-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7310479PMC
June 2020

Zoonotic and vector-borne pathogens in tigers from a wildlife safari park, Italy.

Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2020 Aug 28;12:1-7. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Infectious diseases by pathogens, including those of zoonotic concern, may act as a primary or contributory cause of threat to wildlife conservation and may represent a risk for human health, mainly for people working at, or visiting the zoological parks. Given the paucity of data on pathogens infecting wild tigers, we investigated the occurrence of infectious agents in this animal species, with a special focus on those of zoonotic concern. Blood and serum samples from tigers (n = 20) living in a wildlife safari park of southern Italy were screened by serological and molecular tests. All animals scored positive for antibodies against (100%), whereas they displayed different prevalence of seropositivity for (30%), (15%) and Icterohaemorrhagiae and/or Grippotyphosa (15%). No antibodies against were detected. In addition, 8 tigers (40%) tested molecularly positive to " Mycoplasma haemominutum", and 3 (15%) to . No DNA of , spp., / spp. and piroplasmids was amplified. The occurrence of tiger infections by bacteria and parasites may represent a risk for morbidity and, in some circumstances, mortality in this endangered species and a source of infection for other animals, including humans. These findings indicate that the circulation of zoonotic pathogens such as Icterohaemorrhagiae, " Mycoplasma haemominutum" and in given environments may represent a relevant health issue considering the close association among animals and humans visiting, or working at, the wildlife safari park. Preventative measures are advocated in order to control ectoparasites and other sources of infection (e.g., small rodents), thus for minimizing the risk of infection for animals as well as for humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2020.03.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139133PMC
August 2020

Serological survey and risk factors of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infection among owned cats in Italy.

Parasitol Res 2019 Aug 22;118(8):2377-2382. Epub 2019 Jun 22.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy.

Feline lungworms affect the respiratory tract of domestic cats causing respiratory conditions of various degrees. In this study, we investigated the exposure of cats to feline lungworm infections by detecting antibodies in a large population of animals from several regions of Italy. Sera of 1087 domestic cats living in regions of the north (n = 700), the centre (n = 227) and the south (n = 160) of Italy were examined by a newly developed indirect ELISA conceived for detection of antibodies against the most frequently occurring feline lungworm Aelurostrongylus abstrusus. Individual cat data (i.e., age, sex, neutering status and provenience) were analysed as potential risk factors for exposure to lungworm infections. Samples were additionally screened for feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) proviral DNAs. Overall, 9% (98/1087; 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.4-10.9%) of the animals tested seropositive to lungworm antibodies. Positive cats were identified in the north (7.1%; CI 5.5-9.3%), in the centre (5.3%; CI 3.0-9.0%) and in the South (22.5%; CI 16.7-29.6%), with more seropositive animals in the latter area (p < 0.05). The risk of lungworm infection in cats was significantly associated with age less than 6 months (i.e. 24.4%, p < 0.05) and FIV infection (p < 0.05). This large-scale serological survey confirms the exposure of cats to lungworm infections in Italy and that serological tests can be used to assess the distribution of lungworm infections in large populations of animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-019-06373-zDOI Listing
August 2019

High prevalence of vector-borne pathogens in domestic and wild carnivores in Iraq.

Acta Trop 2019 Sep 8;197:105058. Epub 2019 Jun 8.

Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, 95616, Davis, CA, USA.

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) of domestic and wild carnivores are of major public health concern both in industrialized and developing countries, especially in poor socioeconomic settings. War-torn areas specifically suffer from absence of veterinary surveillance of VBDs, resulting in lack of scientific knowledge on this topic. To investigate occurence and prevalence of several vector-borne pathogens (VBPs) in some carnivore species from Iraq, blood samples (n = 397) were obtained from 190 canids [97 stray dogs (Canis familiaris), 55 jackals (Canis aureus) and 38 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)] and 207 stray cats (Felis catus) collected during a feral animal control and zoonotic disease surveillance program in several United States military bases in Iraq. The presence of Babesia spp., Hepatozoon spp., Ehrlichia spp., Anaplasma spp., Dirofilaria spp. and Leishmania spp. DNA was molecularly investigated. Out of 397 animals tested, 176 (44.3%; 95% CI: 39.5-49.2%) were positive for at least one pathogen with the highest prevalence in foxes (73.7%; 95% CI: 58-85%), followed by jackals (54.5%; 95% CI: 41.5-67%), dogs (38.1%; 29.1-48.1%) and cats (39.1%; 95% CI: 32.7-45.9%). Up to five pathogens were diagnosed in dogs. Hepatozoon canis was the most prevalent VBP in jackals (49.1%; 95% CI: 36.4-61.9%), foxes (47.3%; 95% CI: 32.5-62.7%) and dogs (33%; 95% CI: 24.4-42.8%), whereas Hepatozoon felis was the only species detected in cats (39.1%; 95% CI: 32.7-45.9%). A species of Babesia related to but different from Babesia lengau and designated as Babesia sp. MML was detected in six foxes (15.8%; 95% CI: 7.4-30.4%) and in one jackal (1.8%; 95% CI: 0.3-9.6%). This finding suggested the existence of a new species in the genus Babesia as inferred by molecular and phylogenetical analysis. Further, Babesia vulpes was identified only in two foxes (5.3%; 95% CI: 1.5-17.3%). All samples were negative for Leishmania spp. and Ehrlichia spp. Co-infection with H. canis and Babesia spp. was the most prevalent (5/176, 2.8%, i.e., 4 foxes and 1 jackal), followed by H. canis and Dirofilaria immitis (1/176, 1.3%, i.e., in 1 jackal), H. canis and Dirofilaria repens or Acanthocheilonema reconditum (1/176, 1.3%, i.e., in one dog, each). Data presented fill gaps into knowledge of VBPs in dogs, cats and wild canids in Iraq, indicating that different pathogens circulate amongst animal populations living in the same areas, possibly sharing the same tick vectors. Large-scale surveys are urgently needed to further assess VBPs distribution in Iraq and establish preventative strategies in domestic animals to minimize the risk of infection for animals and humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.105058DOI Listing
September 2019

Shedding of feline lungworm larvae and their infectivity to snail intermediate hosts after anthelmintic treatment.

Int J Parasitol 2019 05 21;49(6):449-453. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università di Bari, 70010, Valenzano, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Troglostrongylus brevior are snail-transmitted helminths causing respiratory diseases in infected cats. The shedding of feline lungworm L1s and their infectivity to the snail intermediate host, after administration of anthelminthic products to cats, are poorly documented. To assess the efficacy of 8.3% fipronil, 10% (S)-methoprene, 0.4% eprinomectin and 8.3% praziquantel (i.e. eprinomectin formulation) and 10% imidacloprid/1% moxidectin (i.e. moxidectin formulation) against these nematodes and to determine the number of days post-treatment until viable L1s are released in the faeces, 384 animals were screened by faecal examination. Of the 54 positive animals (i.e., 14.1%; 7.3% A. abstrusus, 6.2% T. brevior and 0.5% coinfected), 36 were randomly allocated to four groups. Groups A and B were composed of cats positive for T. brevior and treated with the eprinomectin and with the moxidectin formulations, respectively, whereas cats in groups C and D were positive to A. abstrusus and treated with the eprinomectin and the moxidectin formulations, respectively. Prior to and every day after treatment, faecal samples were analysed by the Baermann technique and the number of larvae per gram of faeces determined, and again four weeks after treatment, to assess the efficacy of a single administration of the products. In addition, to evaluate the pre- and post-treatment infectivity of L1s to snail intermediate hosts, one/two snails per cat were infected with 100 L1s collected from the faeces of enrolled animals and then digested 28 days p.i. Based on L1s faecal counts, the efficacy of the eprinomectin and the moxidectin formulations at 28 days was 100% for both A. abstrusus and T. brevior, with a mean number of days of 7.9 ± 1.2 in group A, 7.8 ± 1.9 in B, 6.9 ± 1.6 in C and 8.9 ± 2.0 in D to become negative. Following the artificial digestion, active L3s of T. brevior and A. abstrusus were found in 160 (87.4%) experimentally infected snails. The results of this study demonstrate that a single administration of the two formulations is effective in the treatment of A. abstrusus and T. brevior infections and that during the post-treatment period live L1s are shed for up to 8.9 ± 2.0 days. L1s of both lungworm species released in the faeces after drug administration are still able to reach the infective larval stage in the infected snails. Hence, preventative measures after the treatment of infected animals should include keeping cats indoors and disposal of their faeces for approximately 10 days to avoid environmental contamination and infection of gastropod intermediate hosts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2018.12.008DOI Listing
May 2019

Validity of genus Perostrongylus Schlegel, 1934 with new data on Perostrongylus falciformis (Schlegel, 1933) in European badgers, Meles meles (Linnaeus, 1758): distribution, life-cycle and pathology.

Parasit Vectors 2018 Oct 30;11(1):568. Epub 2018 Oct 30.

Department of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Background: A century of debates on the taxonomy of members of the Metastrongyloidea Molin, 1861 led to many reclassifications. Considering the inconstant genus assignation and lack of genetic data, the main aim of this study was to support the validity of the genus Perostrongylus Schlegel, 1934, previously considered a synonym of Aelurostrongylus Cameron, 1927, based on new molecular phylogenetic data and to understand its evolutionary relationships with other metastrongyloid nematodes.

Results: Specimens of lungworm collected from European badgers in Germany, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina were morphologically and molecularly (rDNA, cox1) characterized. From a phylogenetic standpoint, Perostrongylus is grouped with high support together with the genera Filaroides van Beneden, 1858 and Parafilaroides Dougherty, 1946 and includes probably two species: Perostrongylus falciformis (Schlegel, 1933), a parasite of Meles meles in Europe and P. pridhami (Anderson, 1962), a parasite of Neovison vison in North America. Perostrongylus and Aelurostrongylus are assigned to different clades. Aelurostrongylus becomes a monotypic genus, with the only species Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Railliet, 1898). In addition, we provide morphological and morphometric data for the first-stage (L1), second-stage (L2), and third-stage (L3) larvae of P. falciformis and describe their development in experimentally infected Cornu aspersum snails. The pathological and histopathological lesions in lungs of infected European badgers are also described. This is the first record of P. falciformis in Romania.

Conclusions: Molecular phylogenetic and morphological data support the validity of the genus Perostrongylus, most probably with two species, P. falciformis in European badgers and P. pridhami in minks in North America. The two genera clearly belong to two different clades: Perostrongylus is grouped together with the genera Filaroides and Parafilaroides (both in the family Filaroididae Schulz, 1951), whereas Aelurostrongylus belongs to a clade with no sister groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-3124-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208079PMC
October 2018

Occurrence, diagnosis and follow-up of canine strongyloidiosis in naturally infected shelter dogs.

Parasitology 2019 02 30;146(2):246-252. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria,Università degli Studi di Bari,Valenzano, 70010 Bari,Italy.

Strongyloidiosis by Strongyloides stercoralis is a disease of increasing interest in human and animal medicine. The scientific knowledge on canine strongyloidiosis is hindered by the poor diagnostics available. To assess the most sensitive and specific diagnostic method, feces and blood from 100 shelter dogs were screened for S. stercoralis by coprological, molecular and serological tests. Thirty-six dogs (36%) scored positive to S. stercoralis by coprology (22.3% to Baermann) and/or 30% to real time-polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR). According to two composite reference standards (CRS) based on all coprological methods and rt-PCR (first CRS) or in combination with serology (second CRS), the most sensitive test was IFAT (93.8%; CI 82.8-98.7), followed by rt-PCR (80.6%; 95% CI 64-91.8) and Baermann (60.6%; 95% CI 42.1-77.1). The inconsistent shedding of L1 during the 4-week follow-up in infected dogs suggests the importance of multiple faecal collections for a reliable diagnosis. A combination of serological and coprological tests is recommended for the surveillance and diagnosis of S. stercoralis infection in dogs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031182018001312DOI Listing
February 2019

A real-time PCR tool for the surveillance of zoonotic Onchocerca lupi in dogs, cats and potential vectors.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2018 04 4;12(4):e0006402. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Italy.

The ocular onchocercosis is caused by the zoonotic parasite Onchocerca lupi (Spirurida: Onchocercidae). A major hindrance to scientific progress is the absence of a reliable diagnostic test in affected individuals. Microscopic examination of skin snip sediments and the identification of adults embedded in ocular nodules are seldom performed and labour-intensive. A quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay was herein standardized for the detection of O. lupi DNA and the results compared with microscopic examination and conventional PCR (cPCR). The specificity of qPCR and cPCR was assessed by processing the most common filarial nematodes infecting dogs, skin samples from O. lupi infected (n = 35 dogs) or uninfected animals (n = 21 dogs; n = 152 cats) and specimens of potential insect vector (n = 93 blackflies; n = 59 mosquitoes/midges). The analytical sensitivity of both assays was assessed using 10-fold serial dilutions of DNA from adult specimen and from a pool of microfilariae. The qPCR on skin samples revealed an analytical specificity of 100% and a sensitivity up to 8 x 10-1 fg/2μl O. lupi adult-DNA and up to 3.6 x 10-1 pg/2μl of mfs-DNA (corresponding to 1 x 10-2 mfs/2μl). Only 9.5% O. lupi-infected skin samples were positive for cPCR with a sensitivity of 8 x 10-1 pg/2μl of DNA. Out of 152 blackflies and mosquitoes/midges, eight specimens experimentally infected (n = 1 S. erythrocephalum; n = 1 S. ornatum; n = 6 Simulium sp.) were positive by qPCR. The qPCR assay herein standardized represents an important step forward in the diagnosis of zoonotic onchocercosis caused by O. lupi, especially for the detection and quantification of low number of mfs. This assay provides a fundamental contribution for the establishment of surveillance strategies aiming at assessing the presence of O. lupi in carnivores and in insect species acting as potential intermediate hosts. The O. lupi qPCR assay will enable disease progress monitoring as well as the diagnosis of apparently clinical healthy dogs and cats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006402DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902036PMC
April 2018

Troglostrongylus brevior: a feline lungworm of paediatric concern.

Vet Parasitol 2018 Apr 12;253:8-11. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

The immature immune system of cats in their paediatric age (i.e., first six months of life) favours the establishment of infectious respiratory tract diseases mainly caused by well recognized viruses and bacteria species. Conversely, lungworm infections are less investigated during respiratory disorders in kittens. In the last decade, Troglostrongylus brevior has been found affecting the respiratory tract of cats, along with the better-known Aelurostrongylus abstrusus. Given the scant data available on the epidemiology of feline troglostrongylosis, faecal samples from 575 domestic animals living in three Italian municipalities (i.e., Bari, Messina and Siena) were screened for lungworm infection by Baermann and molecular tecniques. Animals were grouped according to their age as ≤6 months (i.e., paediatric patients), 6-24 months, or >24 months. Paediatric cats were further sub-divided in infant (2-6 weeks), weanling (6-12 weeks) and juvenile (3-6 months). Of the 575 animals tested, 241 (42.0%) were younger than 6 months, 188 (33%) were 6-24-month-old and 146 (25%) were older than 24 months. Lungworm infection was diagnosed in 84 (14.6%) of the examined cats. Of the 49 (20.3%) paediatric animals positive for lungworms, T. brevior was the nematode species most frequently diagnosed (n = 44; 89.8%), followed by A. abstrusus (n = 2; 4.1%), and three cats (6.1%) were co-infected by both species. The diagnosis of T. brevior infection was significantly associated with animals aging ≤6 months (18.2%; P < 0.01) than elder cats. Indeed, the prevalence of infection by T. brevior decreased in animals aging 6-24 months (3.2%) being not detected in cats older than two years. Results of this study indicate that paediatric cats are at higher risk of T. brevior infection compared to adults (P < 0.01).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.02.017DOI Listing
April 2018

Competence of from the United States as an Intermediate Host of the Eyeworm.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2018 04 8;98(4):1175-1178. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Over the past 20 years, (the oriental eyeworm) has become endemic in Europe, infecting domestic and wild carnivores and humans. The vector of this nematode, the fruit fly , has recently been discovered in the United States, and its vector competence is demonstrated for in this article, therefore representing a potential new threat for infection of carnivores and humans in the United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.17-0956DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5928840PMC
April 2018

Lungworms and gastrointestinal parasites of domestic cats: a European perspective.

Int J Parasitol 2017 08 26;47(9):517-528. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università di Bari, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

With the exception of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, feline lungworms have been poorly studied. Information on their distribution is patchy and mostly limited to case reports. In this study, the occurrence of feline lungworms and co-infecting gastrointestinal parasites has been investigated in 12 European countries (i.e. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). An average of 10 domestic cats, with regular outdoor access, was sampled each month for 12months, and freshly passed faeces were collected. Stools were processed using a McMaster assay and a quantitative Baermann-Wetzel method. Animals positive for lungworms and/or gastrointestinal parasites were treated with a formulation containing fipronil, (S)-methoprene, eprinomectin, and praziquantel (Broadline®, Merial), and re-sampled 28days post-treatment. The association between lungworm infection and risk factors was analysed using statistical medians/means and the efficacy of the treatment against each lungworm species was assessed. Of 1990 cats sampled, 613 (30.8%) were positive for at least one parasite, while 210 (10.6%) were infected by lungworms. The prevalence of lungworm infection varied between the sampled sites, with the highest recorded in Bulgaria (35.8%) and the lowest in Switzerland (0.8%). None of the cats from Austria or the United Kingdom were infected by lungworms. Aelurostrongylus abstrusus was the species most frequently detected (78.1%), followed by Troglostrongylus brevior (19.5%), Eucoleus aerophilus (14.8%) and Oslerus rostratus (3.8%). The overall efficacy of the treatment was 99% for A. abstrusus and 100% for T. brevior, O. rostratus and E. aerophilus. Data presented provide a comprehensive account of the diagnosis, epidemiology and treatment of feline lungworms in Europe, as well as of the occurrence of co-infections by gastrointestinal parasites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2017.02.003DOI Listing
August 2017

Development of Crenosoma vulpis in the common garden snail Cornu aspersum: implications for epidemiological studies.

Parasit Vectors 2016 Apr 14;9:208. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Italy.

Background: Crenosoma vulpis (Dujardin, 1845), the fox lungworm, is a metastrongyloid affecting the respiratory tract of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), dogs (Canis familiaris) and badgers (Meles meles) living in Europe and North America. The scant data available on the intermediate hosts of C. vulpis, as well as the limited information about the morphology of the larvae may jeopardise epidemiological studies on this parasite.

Methods: Suitability and developmental time of C. vulpis in the common garden snail Cornu aspersum (= Helix aspersa) was assessed at selected days post-infection (i.e. 3, 6, 10, 15, 20 and 180). Nematodes were preserved in 70% ethanol, cleared and examined as temporary mounts in glycerol for morphological descriptions of first- and third-stage larvae. In addition, nematodes collected from the dog and the experimentally infected snails were molecularly analysed by the amplification of the nuclear 18S rRNA gene.

Results: Specimens of C. aspersum digested before the infection (n = 10) were negative for helminth infections. Out of 115 larvae recovered from infected gastropods (mean of 9.58 larvae per snail), 36 (31.3%) were localised in the foot and 79 (68.7%) in the viscera. The 18S rDNA sequences obtained from larvae collected from the dog and the snail tissues displayed 100% identity to the nucleotide sequence of C. vulpis.

Conclusions: Cornu aspersum is herein reported for the first time as a suitable intermediate host of C. vulpis. This snail species may play an important role for the infection of animals living in regions of the Mediterranean basin. In addition, this study provides more details on the morphological descriptions of L1 and L3 and supports future investigations on the epidemiology of this little known parasite.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1483-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4832547PMC
April 2016