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Although Joyeuxiella pasqualei is frequently detected in cats from Mediterranean Europe, information on its biology is still scarce. This cestode is relatively less frequently reported in dogs, possibly because it is often misdiagnosed with the better-known Dipylidium caninum. The occurrence of J. pasqualei proglottids in a dog living in a closed environment triggered us to delve into the biology of this cestode by collecting biological samples from lizards and a road-killed cat. Two reptile species, Podarcis siculus (Lacertidae), and Tarentola mauritanica (Geckonidae) were also collected in the garden and its surroundings. In addition, experimental infections with eggs obtained from gravid proglottids were performed in laboratory mice, and Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) beetles. Proglottids from the dog's feces and adult cestodes detected at necroscopy of a cat were morphologically identified as J. pasqualei. Two out of 13 T. mauritanica collected in the garden had natural infections of J. pasqualei cysts in the liver and attached to the intestine. All P. siculus lizards and experimentally infected rodents and beetles were negative. DNA sequences obtained from J. pasqualei showed the highest nucleotide similarities with Versteria sp., Echinococcus sp., Raillietina sonini, Taenia polyacantha and D. caninum. Data herein provided show the inability of rodents to become infected by direct ingestion of gravid proglottids, suggesting a need for an invertebrate first intermediate host in the life cycle. Thus, more research study is advocated to better understand the biology of J. pasqualei such as its first intermediate host and its mechanism of transmission in reptiles and rodents.
The distribution of Hepatozoon canis mainly encompasses areas where its main tick vector, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, is present. However, the detection of this pathogen in dogs, foxes and golden jackals well outside the areas inhabited by this tick species reinforced the hypothesis that additional ixodids are involved in the life cycle and transmission of this protozoon. The present study provides, for the first time, data supporting the sporogonic development of H. canis in specimens of Rhipicephalus turanicus collected from a naturally infected fox from southern Italy. The epidemiological role of R. turanicus as a vector of H. canis is discussed, along with information on the potential use of cell cultures for the experimental infection with H. canis sporozoites. The in vitro infection of canine leucocytes by sporozoites from ticks is proposed as a potential tool for future in-depth studies on the biology of H. canis.
To investigate larval development of Acanthocheilonema reconditum in the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis, fleas were fed through an artificial feeding system with dog blood containing different concentrations of microfilariae (i.e. low, group L = 250; medium, group M = 500; high, group H = 1500 microfilariae per mL) or no microfilariae (group C). Fleas were sampled at 12 different time-points throughout the study period (D1–D28) and A. reconditum was detected by dissection, PCR and histology. Of 2105 fleas fed with infected dog blood, 891 (38·7%) died during the study before being sampled whilst the remaining (n = 1214) were examined for A. reconditum. Upon dissection, first-stage larvae (L1) were identified after 2 days post infection (D2), second-stage (L2) at D13 and infective third-stage larvae (L3) at D15. Eighteen (30%) of 60 pools of fleas molecularly examined tested positive. Histologically, L2 were detected at D13 in the sub-cuticle region embedded in the back muscle of one female flea. This study provides original data on larval development of A. reconditum in C. felis and reports on the usefulness of the artificial feeding system.
Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Strongylida, Angiostrongylidae) and Troglostrongylus brevior (Strongylida, Crenosomatidae) are regarded as important lungworm species of domestic felids, with the latter considered an emerging threat in the Mediterranean region. The present study aimed to assess their concurrent development in the mollusc Helix aspersa (Pulmonata, Helicidae). Thirty snails were infested with 100 first-stage larvae (L1) of A. abstrusus and T. brevior, isolated from a naturally infested kitten. Larval development was checked by digesting five specimens at 2, 6 and 11 days post infestation. Larvae retrieved were morphologically described and their identification was confirmed by specific PCR and sequencing. All H. aspersa snails were positive for A. abstrusus and T. brevior, whose larval stages were simultaneously detected at each time point. In addition, snails were exposed to outdoor conditions and examined after overwintering, testing positive up to 120 days post infestation. Data herein presented suggest that A. abstrusus and T. brevior develop in H. aspersa snails and may eventually co-infest cats. Data on the morphology of both parasitic species in H. aspersa provide additional information on their development and identification, to better understand the population dynamics of these lungworms in receptive snails and paratenic hosts.
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