The First Report of Toxocara Canis Infection in Three Domestic Stray Cats in Iran
Department of Parasitology, Veterinary Faculty, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Campus
In a parasitological study on domestic stray cats in Iran, two male kittens and their mother were captured using special traps. The two kittens were kept in separate cages, and both exhibited clinical signs including depression, thinness, pot-belly, dull coat, diarrhoea and pale mucous membranes. One kitten exhibited coughing, tachypnea and a purulent nasal exudate. The queen exhibited clinical signs limited to a dull coat, soft faeces and pale mucous membranes. Hematological examination showed moderate normocytic hypochromic anaemia in the kittens, and mild normocytic, normochromic anaemia in the queen. Macroscopic evaluation of faecal samples from the kittens showed three adult Toxocara parasites. Parasitological evaluation of the morphology of the adult parasites and their intrauterine eggs, determined an infection with Toxocara canis. T. canis is the main infective agent in visceral larva migrans syndrome (VLMS) in humans. A cathartic (arecoline hydrobromide) was administered to the queen, resulting in stools which contained five adult T. canis. The canine is the usual host species for T. canis, but possible routes of infection for these cats include: ingestion by the queen of carrier hosts such as mice (T. canis larvae can survive in the brain of mice, and cats could become infected by eating an infected mouse carcass); Musca domestica may also transfer the eggs of T. canis to foods ingested by cats. This mode of transmission is recognised in the feline and was considered probable for canine (Pegg, E.J, 1970, quoting a publication from The Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, University of Sydney); infection of kittens with T. canis via the mother's milk (Stone, W.M, Girardew, M.H, 1967, Vet. Med. Small Anim. Clin. 62: 252-253); ingestion of larvae from the queen's faeces; and via placental transfer (Eslami, A., 1997, Veterinary Helminthology, University of Tehran: 134-136).In this point of view that there are too much of domestic stray cats around us in urban areas which come and go easily in homes and produce a lot of contaminant feces and VLMS is too dangerous, this report can be important.