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First case of a natural infection in a domestic cat (Felis catus) with the canid heart worm Angiostrongylus vasorum


Gueldner, Emily Katharina; Schuppisser, Carole; Borel, Nicole; Hilbe, Monika; Schnyder, Manuela (2019). First case of a natural infection in a domestic cat (Felis catus) with the canid heart worm Angiostrongylus vasorum. Veterinary Parasitologie, 18:100342.

Abstract

Cardiopulmonary nematodes in cats include different parasite species affecting feline lungs and the heart, with the metastrongyloid Aelurostrongylus abstrusus being the most frequent feline lungworm worldwide. The present case report describes an 11-month-old male neutered European short hair cat which presented with generalised subcutaneous oedema and pleural and peritoneal effusions. According to clinical examination, abdominal imaging and laboratory analyses, a tentative diagnosis of severe glomerulopathy with massive proteinuria was made. Due to worsening of the clinical signs despite therapeutic interventions and a poor prognosis, the cat was euthanised. Necropsy and histological examinations revealed severe bilateral collagenofibrotic glomerulopathy, generalised oedema and a focal verminous pneumonia with thrombosis in arterial lung vessels containing nematode cross sections. A serum sample was tested for the presence of antibodies against the cat lungworm A. abstrusus, resulting negative. Genetic analyses confirmed the presence of nematode DNA; after exclusion of common lung and heart parasites occurring in cats, DNA of the canid heart worm nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum was identified. This is the first description of a naturally occurring infection with A. vasorum in a cat. Previous experimental studies demonstrated the development of adult male and female A. vasorum worms containing eggs in cats, but no larval excretion in the faeces. Although cats did not become patent, A. vasorum infections were clinically relevant. As A. abstrusus and A. vasorum are both gastropod transmitted nematodes, they may share the same intermediate hosts within overlapping areas. In addition, especially chronic A. abstrusus infected cats become non-patent and do not excrete L1. Considering that patent A. vasorum infections are widespread in the dog and fox population in Switzerland (and several other countries) but are apparently not patent in cats, we cannot exclude that infections with A. vasorum may occur more frequently than expected.

Abstract

Cardiopulmonary nematodes in cats include different parasite species affecting feline lungs and the heart, with the metastrongyloid Aelurostrongylus abstrusus being the most frequent feline lungworm worldwide. The present case report describes an 11-month-old male neutered European short hair cat which presented with generalised subcutaneous oedema and pleural and peritoneal effusions. According to clinical examination, abdominal imaging and laboratory analyses, a tentative diagnosis of severe glomerulopathy with massive proteinuria was made. Due to worsening of the clinical signs despite therapeutic interventions and a poor prognosis, the cat was euthanised. Necropsy and histological examinations revealed severe bilateral collagenofibrotic glomerulopathy, generalised oedema and a focal verminous pneumonia with thrombosis in arterial lung vessels containing nematode cross sections. A serum sample was tested for the presence of antibodies against the cat lungworm A. abstrusus, resulting negative. Genetic analyses confirmed the presence of nematode DNA; after exclusion of common lung and heart parasites occurring in cats, DNA of the canid heart worm nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum was identified. This is the first description of a naturally occurring infection with A. vasorum in a cat. Previous experimental studies demonstrated the development of adult male and female A. vasorum worms containing eggs in cats, but no larval excretion in the faeces. Although cats did not become patent, A. vasorum infections were clinically relevant. As A. abstrusus and A. vasorum are both gastropod transmitted nematodes, they may share the same intermediate hosts within overlapping areas. In addition, especially chronic A. abstrusus infected cats become non-patent and do not excrete L1. Considering that patent A. vasorum infections are widespread in the dog and fox population in Switzerland (and several other countries) but are apparently not patent in cats, we cannot exclude that infections with A. vasorum may occur more frequently than expected.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology

05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Parasitology
Health Sciences > General Veterinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Veterinary, Parasitology, Aberrant infection; Angiostrongylus vasorum; Canid heart worm; Felis catus; Genetic confirmation; Glomerulopathy
Language:English
Date:December 2019
Deposited On:07 Jan 2020 16:34
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:39
Publisher:Elsevier
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vprsr.2019.100342
PubMed ID:31796174

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