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J Feline Med Surg. 2014 Feb;16(2):194-7. doi: 10.1177/1098612X13502976. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

First report of Dracunculus insignis in two naturally infected cats from the northeastern USA.

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  • 11Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Dracunculiasis is rarely reported in cats, yet over the last few years we have identified two cats with filarioid-like spirurid infections. Case 1 was a 9-year-old cat with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism from New York tate from which four adult dracunculoid nematodes were isolated from its torso. Based on morphometric characteristics and parasite geographic distribution, the specimens were identified as Dracunculus insignis females; at least one of the females was gravid, suggestive of patent infection. Species identification was confirmed through amplification and sequence analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial loci. Case 2 was a 14-year-old diabetic cat from Massachusetts. Formalin-fixed sections were obtained from a subcutaneous mass excised from the left foreleg. Histopathological examination revealed a large nematode with morphometrical characteristics of Dracunculus, surrounded by lymphocytes and sheets of eosinophils. These two cases appear to be the first published reports of dracunculiasis in domestic cats in the USA, and based on the findings from case 1, D insignis may be the species associated with both infections.

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