Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

First description of peritoneal and pleural metacestodosis caused by Mesocestoides vogae in a European wild cat (Felis silvestris silvestris)

Tapeworms of the genus Mesocestoides (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Mesocestoididae) are still enigmatic to scientists, due to their high morphological variability, low host specificity, and unknown details of their life cycle. They are found worldwide, with carnivorous mammals as the main definitive hosts, and the disease is potentially zoonotic. After ingestion by a definitive host, the tetrathyridium can occasionally migrate through the intestinal wall and reach the peritoneal cavity or abdominal organs causing peritoneal metacestodosis. Here, we report on a case of metacestodosis of a European wild cat (Felis silvestris silvestris) found dead in Croatia. At necropsy, a large number of white, rice-like structures were found free in the abdominal and thoracic cavities, as well as along the serous surfaces and in the lungs. DNA isolated from the nodules was genotyped and based on a 320-base pair long 12S fragment classified as Mesocestoides vogae. Although post-mortem changes were advanced, severe emaciation due to the severe parasitic infection and gastrointestinal bleeding was diagnosed as the likely cause of death. Intestinal cestodosis was previously reported in wild cats, but according to our knowledge, this is the first description of peritoneal and pleural metacestodosis caused by M. vogae tetrathyridia (metacestodes) in any wild carnivore species.

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