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J Parasitol. 2005 Aug;91(4):939-43.

Molecular characterization of trichomonads from feces of dogs with diarrhea.

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Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA.


Trichomonads are occasionally observed in the feces of dogs with diarrhea. On the basis of superficial morphological appearance, these infections have been attributed to opportunistic overgrowth of the commensal, Pentatrichomonas hominis. However, molecular characterization of canine trichomonads has never been reported. This study was performed to determine, by means of rRNA gene sequence analysis, the identity of trichomonads observed in feces from dogs with diarrhea. Total DNA was isolated from fecal samples obtained from a 3-mo-old mixed breed dog and litter of German Shepherd puppies having profuse liquid diarrhea containing numerous trichomonads. Total DNA was subject to PCR amplification of partial 18S rRNA gene or 5.8S, ITS1, ITS2, and partial 18S and 28S rRNA genes using species-specific and universal primers, respectively. Products of 642 and 1864 base-pair length were amplified and cloned. On the basis of rRNA gene sequence, the trichomonads observed in the single dog and the litter of puppies shared 100% identity with Tritrichomonas foetus and P. hominis, respectively. The present study is the first to establish the molecular identity of trichomonads infecting dogs with diarrhea. These studies validate the longstanding assumption that canine trichomoniasis may be attributed to P. hominis. Importantly, these studies additionally recognize that canine trichomoniasis may also be caused by infection with T. foetus.

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