In spite of the increasing number of reports of troglostrongylosis in domestic cats in Europe (Brianti et al., 2014, Vet. Parasitol., in press), no data is available on the occurrence of this parasite in wildcats. Indeed, scientific data on the lungworms of this wild felid is scarce (Krone et al., 2008, Eur. J. Wildl. Res., 54:95-100). This study aims to investigate the lungworm species infecting wildcats, in order to assess their impact on the health of this endangered carnivorous and to elucidate their role as potential bridging hosts for this parasite to domestic animals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Wildcat carcasses were received from two Natural Parks situated in Basilicata and Sicily. Crops were biometrically and molecularly identified at sub-species level (Mattucci et al., 2013, Ecol. Evol., 3:2443-2458) and examined for lungworms. Morphometric data and causes of death were registered for each animal. Epidemiological indexes such as prevalence, mean abundance, mean intensity and aggregation k-index were calculated and statistically analyzed for each parasites species (Bush et al., 1997, J. Parasitol., 48:575-583). RESULTS: A total of 21 wildcats (12 females and 9 males) were examined, being 7 yearlings and 14 adults. Based on both biometrical and molecular analysis 19 were classified as pure Felis silvestris silvestris, whereas the remaining two were hybrids. Fifteen wildcats were found positive for Troglostrongylus brevior and 7 for Eucoleus aerophilus, being 5 (23.8%) animals co-infected by both lungworm species. Epidemiological indexes calculated for T. brevior and E. aerophilus respectively are reported on the follows: prevalence: 71.4% and 33.3%; mean abundance 4.7 and 0.8; mean intensity 6.6 and 2.4; aggregation k-index 0.69 and 0.42. The main cause of death was road casualties (66.6%) followed by illegal hunting (19.1%) and starvation (14.3%). No significant differences were recorded among animal variables neither between regions for both lungworm species. The rate of infection by T. brevior was larger in yearlings (85.7%) than in adults (64.3%), and mature worms were collected from the lungs of two 1-month-old kittens (Figure 1).CONCLUSIONS: Results of the present survey indicate that wildcats may be highly infected with T. brevior and E. aerophilus and might act as spreaders of these parasites to sympatric domestic animals. In spite of the large prevalence for lungworms herein observed, the aggregated distribution pattern recorded for both species suggests that these parasites do not represent a biological threat for the studied population (Lafferty, 2012, Philos. Trans. B., 367:2814-2827). Based on the topography, climatic features and prey spectrum of geographical regions where wildcats were collected, a similar picture might be envisaged in other wildcat populations living across the Mediterranean basin.

EUROPEAN WILDCATS (FELIS SILVESTRIS SILVESTRIS) AS SPREADERS OF LUNGWORMS / Falsone L.; Brianti E.; Gaglio G.; Napoli E.; Anile S.; Mallia E.; Giannelli A.; Poglayen G.; Giannetto S.; Otranto D.. - STAMPA. - (2014), pp. 226-226. (Intervento presentato al convegno XXVIII Congresso Nazionale SOIPA tenutosi a Roma nel 24-27 giugno 2014).

EUROPEAN WILDCATS (FELIS SILVESTRIS SILVESTRIS) AS SPREADERS OF LUNGWORMS

POGLAYEN, GIOVANNI;
2014

Abstract

In spite of the increasing number of reports of troglostrongylosis in domestic cats in Europe (Brianti et al., 2014, Vet. Parasitol., in press), no data is available on the occurrence of this parasite in wildcats. Indeed, scientific data on the lungworms of this wild felid is scarce (Krone et al., 2008, Eur. J. Wildl. Res., 54:95-100). This study aims to investigate the lungworm species infecting wildcats, in order to assess their impact on the health of this endangered carnivorous and to elucidate their role as potential bridging hosts for this parasite to domestic animals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Wildcat carcasses were received from two Natural Parks situated in Basilicata and Sicily. Crops were biometrically and molecularly identified at sub-species level (Mattucci et al., 2013, Ecol. Evol., 3:2443-2458) and examined for lungworms. Morphometric data and causes of death were registered for each animal. Epidemiological indexes such as prevalence, mean abundance, mean intensity and aggregation k-index were calculated and statistically analyzed for each parasites species (Bush et al., 1997, J. Parasitol., 48:575-583). RESULTS: A total of 21 wildcats (12 females and 9 males) were examined, being 7 yearlings and 14 adults. Based on both biometrical and molecular analysis 19 were classified as pure Felis silvestris silvestris, whereas the remaining two were hybrids. Fifteen wildcats were found positive for Troglostrongylus brevior and 7 for Eucoleus aerophilus, being 5 (23.8%) animals co-infected by both lungworm species. Epidemiological indexes calculated for T. brevior and E. aerophilus respectively are reported on the follows: prevalence: 71.4% and 33.3%; mean abundance 4.7 and 0.8; mean intensity 6.6 and 2.4; aggregation k-index 0.69 and 0.42. The main cause of death was road casualties (66.6%) followed by illegal hunting (19.1%) and starvation (14.3%). No significant differences were recorded among animal variables neither between regions for both lungworm species. The rate of infection by T. brevior was larger in yearlings (85.7%) than in adults (64.3%), and mature worms were collected from the lungs of two 1-month-old kittens (Figure 1).CONCLUSIONS: Results of the present survey indicate that wildcats may be highly infected with T. brevior and E. aerophilus and might act as spreaders of these parasites to sympatric domestic animals. In spite of the large prevalence for lungworms herein observed, the aggregated distribution pattern recorded for both species suggests that these parasites do not represent a biological threat for the studied population (Lafferty, 2012, Philos. Trans. B., 367:2814-2827). Based on the topography, climatic features and prey spectrum of geographical regions where wildcats were collected, a similar picture might be envisaged in other wildcat populations living across the Mediterranean basin.
2014
XXVIII Congresso Nazionale Società Italiana di Parassitologia
226
226
EUROPEAN WILDCATS (FELIS SILVESTRIS SILVESTRIS) AS SPREADERS OF LUNGWORMS / Falsone L.; Brianti E.; Gaglio G.; Napoli E.; Anile S.; Mallia E.; Giannelli A.; Poglayen G.; Giannetto S.; Otranto D.. - STAMPA. - (2014), pp. 226-226. (Intervento presentato al convegno XXVIII Congresso Nazionale SOIPA tenutosi a Roma nel 24-27 giugno 2014).
Falsone L.; Brianti E.; Gaglio G.; Napoli E.; Anile S.; Mallia E.; Giannelli A.; Poglayen G.; Giannetto S.; Otranto D.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/421971
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