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Vet Parasitol. 2014 Sep 15;205(1-2):193-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.06.024. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

The European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) as reservoir hosts of Troglostrongylus brevior (Strongylida: Crenosomatidae) lungworms.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italy.
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italy. Electronic address: ebrianti@unime.it.
3
Dipartimento di Biologia Animale "Marcello La Greca", Università degli Studi di Catania, Catania, Italy.
4
Parco Regionale Gallipoli Cognato e Piccole Dolomiti Lucane, Basilicata, MT, Italy.
5
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy.
6
Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche Veterinarie, Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

The increasing reports of Troglostrongylus brevior lungworm in domestic cats from Italy and Spain raised questions on its factual distribution and on the role wildcats play as reservoirs of these parasites. Carcasses of 21 wildcats were collected in natural parks of southern Italy (i.e., Catania, Sicily n=5 and Matera, Basilicata n=16) and biometrically and genetically identified as Felis silvestris silvestris, but two as hybrids. Troglostrongylus brevior and Eucoleus aerophilus lungworms were found in 15 (71.4%) and 7 (33.3%) individuals, respectively, being five (23.8%) co-infected by the two species. Both lungworms showed an aggregated distribution in the host population, assessed by k-index (i.e., 0.69 for T. brevior and 0.42 for E. aerophilus). Although no statistical significant difference was recorded among age, gender and geographical location of wildcats, a larger rate of infection by T. brevior was assessed in yearlings (85.7%) than adults (64.3%). This is the first epidemiological study reporting T. brevior infection in the European wildcat and discusses the potential threat this may represent for the conservation of this endangered species of felids. In addition, given the large frequency of lungworm infection herein recorded, the role of wildcats as reservoir hosts of these parasites to domestic cats is discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Eucoleus aerophilus; Felis silvestris silvestris; Lungworms; Troglostrongylus brevior; Wildcat; Wildcat hybrids

PMID:
25027610
DOI:
10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.06.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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