Department of Parasitology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore, Pakistan
The blood protozoan Trypanosoma evansi, which is transmitted by biting flies, is frequently neglected due to subclinical infections. This report describes a case of trypanosomiasis due to T. evansi in a 9-yr-old male puma (Felis concolor) housed at the Lahore Zoo in Pakistan. Early in January 2015, this male puma presented with chronic lethargy, weight loss, incoordination, hyperthermia, anorexia, sunken eyes, and unthriftiness. Microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained blood smears showed numerous Trypanosoma parasites. The puma was treated with diminazene aceturate subcutaneously twice. A few days later, a blood smear examination showed absence of trypanosomes. Five months later the cat presented with acute epistaxis and died. Postmortem examination showed emaciation, pale liver and kidneys, and hemorrhages on the spleen. Examination of a blood smear taken at the time of death showed numerous Trypanosoma parasites. DNA based detection method was used. Specific primers for T. evansi were designed. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was employed for the detection of T. evansi. PCR testing confirmed the presence of Trypanosoma DNA. DNA sequencing of two amplicons confirmed the presence of Trypanosoma in the blood smears with a 98–99% identity with the previously identified GenBank sequences. A phylogenetic tree was then constructed. Further studies are needed to improve our knowledge about the epidemiology and pathogenesis of T. evansi infection in wild animal species.