Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Veterinary Clinical Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2024 | Viewed by 8937

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, Profesor García González 2, 41012 Sevilla, Spain
Interests: parasitology; microbiology; molecular biology; morphometrics; fleas; arthropods; Trichuris; Siphonaptera; nematodes; Ctenocephalides

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, Profesor García González 2, 41012 Sevilla, Spain
Interests: Trichuris; resistance; phylogeny; diagnosis; taxonomy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Humans co-exist with animals that are part of our ecosystem, although they are not always noticeable due to their small size. In addition to the animals present naturally in the environment, a great number of small mammals are commonly kept as pets, such as dogs, cats, rodents, hedgehogs, and rabbits, not forgetting other exotic animals such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.  

This close relationship explains that some parasitic diseases are also zoonotic, infecting humans and even causing serious illnesses. Zoonoses can also lead to significant economic losses due to decreased productivity and increased healthcare costs. Although in recent years there has been progress in this field, many aspects remain unknown.

The success of the One Health concept now requires breaking down the interdisciplinary barriers that still separate human and veterinary medicine from ecological, evolutionary, and environmental sciences. For these reasons, it is fundamental to study and control parasitic diseases in small animals to be able to improve global public health.

Consequently, the open access journal Animals (EISSN 2076-2615) is currently running a Special Issue entitled “Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals” with Angela M Garcia-Sanchez and Rocío Callejón as Guest Editors. We are pleased to invite you to contribute to this Special Issue with a paper related to this broad topic that embraces a wide variety of animal hosts and parasites, such as arthropods, protozoans, and helminths. For this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following: epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment resistances, control measures, vaccination, immunology, etc.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Angela M. García-Sánchez
Dr. Rocio Callejón
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • parasites
  • phylogeny
  • taxonomy
  • epidemiology
  • zoonosis
  • small animals
  • diagnosis
  • pathogenesis
  • vaccination
  • parasitic diseases

Published Papers (7 papers)

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15 pages, 1306 KiB  
Article
Occurrence and Risk Factors Associated with Platynosomum illiciens Infection in Cats with Elevated Liver Enzymes
by Pinkarn Chantawong, Jiraporn Potiwong, Natchanon Choochote, Kakanang Piyarungsri, Chakorn Kunkaew, Sahatchai Tangtrongsup and Saruda Tiwananthagorn
Animals 2024, 14(7), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14071065 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
Platynosomum spp., a hepatic trematode, causes fatal hepatobiliary disease in cats. Feline platynosomiasis is often underestimated due to a lack of awareness and diagnostic challenges. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence, factors, and clinicopathological abnormalities associated with Platynosomum spp. infection in cats [...] Read more.
Platynosomum spp., a hepatic trematode, causes fatal hepatobiliary disease in cats. Feline platynosomiasis is often underestimated due to a lack of awareness and diagnostic challenges. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence, factors, and clinicopathological abnormalities associated with Platynosomum spp. infection in cats with elevated serum ALT levels. Platynosomum infection was determined using zinc sulfate flotation and formalin–ether sedimentation. DNA sequence analysis of PCR products from the Platynosomum internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region and cox1 gene was used to identify Platynosomum species. Of a total of 43 cat fecal samples, the proportion of Platynosomum spp. infection by microscopic examination was 11.63% (5/43). All PCR-positive samples were molecularly identified as Platynosomum illiciens. From the logistic regression analysis, the odds of Platynosomum infection in cats without a deworming program were 16 times higher than those of regularly dewormed cats. Demographic data, housing conditions, and predatory behavior were not significantly associated with the infection. Regarding blood profiles, infected cats had higher eosinophil counts (p = 0.014), with no significant differences in ALT (p = 0.791) or ALP (p = 0.970) levels compared to non-infected cats. Our findings demonstrate that eosinophilia in cats with increased serum ALT may suggest P. illiciens infection in endemic areas. We strongly recommend a regular deworming program to mitigate the risk of P. illiciens infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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12 pages, 2622 KiB  
Article
Current Status of Trypanosoma grosi and Babesia microti in Small Mammals in the Republic of Korea
by Hyun Jung Kim, BoGyeong Han, Hee-Il Lee, Jung-Won Ju and Hyun-Il Shin
Animals 2024, 14(7), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14070989 - 22 Mar 2024
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Small mammals, such as rodents and shrews, are natural reservoir hosts of zoonotic diseases, including parasitic protozoa. To assess the risk of rodent-borne parasitic protozoa in the Republic of Korea (ROK), this study investigated the status of parasitic protozoa, namely Trypanosoma, Babesia [...] Read more.
Small mammals, such as rodents and shrews, are natural reservoir hosts of zoonotic diseases, including parasitic protozoa. To assess the risk of rodent-borne parasitic protozoa in the Republic of Korea (ROK), this study investigated the status of parasitic protozoa, namely Trypanosoma, Babesia, and Theileria, in small mammals. In total, 331 blood samples from small mammals were analyzed for parasites using PCR and sequenced. Samples were positive for Trypanosoma grosi (23.9%; n = 79) and Babesia microti (10%; n = 33) but not Theileria. Small mammals from Seogwipo-si showed the highest infection rate of T. grosi (48.4%), while the highest B. microti infection rate was observed in those from Gangneung-si (25.6%). Sequence data revealed T. grosi to be of the AKHA strain. Phylogenetic analysis of B. microti revealed the US and Kobe genotypes. B. microti US-type–infected small mammals were detected throughout the country, but the Kobe type was only detected in Seogwipo-si. To our knowledge, this is the first nationwide survey that confirmed T. grosi and B. microti infections at the species level in small mammals in the ROK and identified the Kobe type of B. microti. These results provide valuable information for further molecular epidemiological studies on these parasites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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14 pages, 2442 KiB  
Article
First Detection of Theileria sinensis-like and Anaplasma capra in Ixodes kashmiricus: With Notes on cox1-Based Phylogenetic Position and New Locality Records
by Muhammad Numan, Abdulaziz Alouffi, Mashal M. Almutairi, Tetsuya Tanaka, Haroon Ahmed, Haroon Akbar, Muhammad Imran Rashid, Kun-Hsien Tsai and Abid Ali
Animals 2023, 13(20), 3232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13203232 - 17 Oct 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
Ixodes ticks transmit Theileria and Anaplasma species to a wide range of animals. The spreading of ticks and tick-borne pathogens has been attributed to transhumant herds, and research on these uninvestigated issues has been neglected in many countries, including Pakistan. Recently, we used [...] Read more.
Ixodes ticks transmit Theileria and Anaplasma species to a wide range of animals. The spreading of ticks and tick-borne pathogens has been attributed to transhumant herds, and research on these uninvestigated issues has been neglected in many countries, including Pakistan. Recently, we used internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and 16S ribosomal DNA partial sequences to genetically characterize Ixodes kashmiricus ticks and their associated Rickettsia spp. However, the data on its cox1 sequence and associated Theileria spp. and Anaplasma spp. are missing. This study aimed to genetically characterize I. kashmiricus based on the cox1 sequence and their associated Theileria spp. and Anaplasma spp. The I. kashmiricus ticks were collected from small ruminants: sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus) of transhumant herds in district Shangla, Dir Upper and Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan. Out of 129 examined hosts, 94 (72.87%) (56 sheep and 38 goats) were infested by 352 ticks, including adult females (175; 49.7%) followed by nymphs (115; 32.7%) and males (62; 17.6%). For molecular analyses, 121 ticks were subjected to DNA isolation and PCR for the amplification of the cox1 sequence for I. kashmiricus, 18S rDNA for Theileria spp. and 16S rDNA sequences for Anaplasma spp. The obtained cox1 sequence showed 89.29%, 88.78%, and 88.71% identity with Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes gibbosus, and Ixodes apronophorus, respectively. Phylogenetically, the present cox1 sequence clustered with the Ixodes ricinus complex. Additionally, the 18S rDNA sequence showed 98.11% maximum identity with Theileria cf. sinensis and 97.99% identity with Theileria sinensis. Phylogenetically, Theileria spp. clustered with the T. cf. sinensis and T. sinensis. In the case of Anaplasma spp., the 16S rDNA sequence showed 100% identity with Anaplasma capra and phylogenetically clustered with the A. capra. PCR-based DNA detection targeting the amplification of groEL and flaB sequences of Coxiella spp. and Borrelia spp., respectively, was unsuccessful. This is the first phylogenetic report based on cox1 and new locality records of I. kashmiricus, and the associated T. sinensis-like and A. capra. Significant tick surveillance studies are needed in order to determine the epidemiology of Ixodes ticks and their associated pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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14 pages, 1020 KiB  
Article
Sarcocystis spp. Macrocysts Infection in Wildfowl Species in Eastern Baltic Region: Trends in Prevalence in 2011–2022
by Petras Prakas, Jolanta Stankevičiūtė, Saulius Švažas, Evelina Juozaitytė-Ngugu, Dalius Butkauskas and Rasa Vaitkevičiūtė-Balčė
Animals 2023, 13(18), 2875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13182875 - 10 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1702
Abstract
Wildfowl meat infected with S. rileyi macrocysts is not suitable for human consumption. Ducks are among the main game birds in Europe, and S. rileyi infections cause significant economic losses. In 2011–2022, a total of 2649 anseriforms collected in Lithuania and [...] Read more.
Wildfowl meat infected with S. rileyi macrocysts is not suitable for human consumption. Ducks are among the main game birds in Europe, and S. rileyi infections cause significant economic losses. In 2011–2022, a total of 2649 anseriforms collected in Lithuania and 619 Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) hunted in the Kaliningrad region of Russia, Belarus, and Latvia were tested for macrocysts. In Lithuania, macrocysts were detected in 206 of 2362 Mallards (8.7%) and in two of 88 (2.3%) Eurasian Teals (Anas crecca). The prevalence of macrocysts in the other three countries, Belarus (5.9%), Russia (5.0%), and Latvia (3.1%), was similar. For species identification, macrocysts isolated from 37 Mallards (21 from Lithuania, 8 from Russia, 6 from Belarus, and 2 from Latvia) were subjected to sequencing of the ITS1 region. Based on DNA analysis, S. rileyi was confirmed in all tested birds. By comparing the infection rates of macrocysts in Mallards in Lithuania, significant differences were observed in different years (p = 0.036), and a significantly higher prevalence of infection was established in November–December than in September–October (p = 0.028). Given the amount of data per decade on the prevalence of S. rileyi, awareness of infection needs to be increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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12 pages, 1729 KiB  
Article
Data on New Intermediate and Accidental Hosts Naturally Infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis in La Gomera and Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain)
by Natalia Martin-Carrillo, Edgar Baz-González, Katherine García-Livia, Virginia Amaro-Ramos, Néstor Abreu-Acosta, Jordi Miquel, Estefanía Abreu-Yanes, Román Pino-Vera, Carlos Feliu and Pilar Foronda
Animals 2023, 13(12), 1969; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13121969 - 13 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1708
Abstract
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a metastrongyloid nematode and the etiologic agent of angiostrongyliasis, a disease characterized by eosinophilic meningitis. This emerging zoonotic parasite has undergone great expansion, including in some regions of Europe and America. In the Canary Islands, the parasite was first discovered [...] Read more.
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a metastrongyloid nematode and the etiologic agent of angiostrongyliasis, a disease characterized by eosinophilic meningitis. This emerging zoonotic parasite has undergone great expansion, including in some regions of Europe and America. In the Canary Islands, the parasite was first discovered parasitizing Rattus rattus on the island of Tenerife in 2010. To date, the distribution of this parasite in the Canary Islands has been restricted to the northern zone and the main cities of Tenerife. Using molecular tools for the sentinel species present in the Canary Islands, this study confirmed the presence of the nematode on two other islands in the Canary Archipelago: La Gomera and Gran Canaria. Furthermore, this emerging parasite was detected, besides in the common definitive host R. rattus, in wild Mus musculus and Felis catus and in four terrestrial gastropod species, Limacus flavus, Milax gagates, Insulivitrina emmersoni, and Insulivitrina oromii, two of them endemic to La Gomera, for the first time, increasing the number of non-definitive host species. This study reinforces the expansion character of A. cantonensis and highlights the importance of knowledge about sentinel species for identifying new transmission locations that help prevent and control the transmission of the parasite and, thus, prevent public health problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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12 pages, 1100 KiB  
Article
High Prevalence of Microsporidia in the North African Hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) in the Canary Islands, Spain
by Edgar Baz-González, Néstor Abreu-Acosta and Pilar Foronda
Animals 2023, 13(11), 1756; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13111756 - 25 May 2023
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Abstract
Microsporidia are unicellular eukaryotic obligate intracellular parasites with a wide range of hosts reported worldwide; however, little is known about the epidemiological data on microsporidia infection in animals from the Canary Islands. Since data on microsporidia infection in hedgehog species are scarce, the [...] Read more.
Microsporidia are unicellular eukaryotic obligate intracellular parasites with a wide range of hosts reported worldwide; however, little is known about the epidemiological data on microsporidia infection in animals from the Canary Islands. Since data on microsporidia infection in hedgehog species are scarce, the aim of this study was to analyze the presence and identity of microsporidia in a group of North African hedgehogs (Atelerix algirus) using microscopic and molecular methods. From December 2020 to September 2021, a total of 36 fecal samples were collected from naturally deceased hedgehogs from Tenerife and Gran Canaria. All samples showed spore-compatible structures (100%; 36/36) under microscopic analysis, of which 61.1% (22/36) were amplified via the nested-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the partial sequence of the 16S rRNA gene, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, and the partial sequence of the 5.8S rRNA gene. After Sanger sequencing and ITS analysis, Enterocytozoon bieneusi was detected in 47.2% (17/36) of the samples, identifying two novel genotypes (AAE1 and AAE2), followed by the detection of an undetermined species in 8.3% (3/36) and Encephalitozoon cuniculi genotype I in 5.6% (2/36) of the samples. This study constitutes the first report of microsporidia species in Atelerix algirus worldwide, highlighting the high prevalence of zoonotic species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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10 pages, 1475 KiB  
Case Report
First Report of Sarcocystis pilosa from a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Released for the Re-Introduction Project in South Korea
by Yeonghoon Jo, Sook Jin Lee, Mohammed Mebarek Bia, Seongjun Choe and Dong-Hyuk Jeong
Animals 2024, 14(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010089 - 27 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1197
Abstract
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a known host for various parasites, including numerous helminths and protozoans. Among these, certain species in the genus Sarcocystis (phylum Apicomplexa) have been documented to possess the capability to infect red foxes as definitive hosts. [...] Read more.
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a known host for various parasites, including numerous helminths and protozoans. Among these, certain species in the genus Sarcocystis (phylum Apicomplexa) have been documented to possess the capability to infect red foxes as definitive hosts. In South Korea, red foxes have been introduced and released as part of a re-introduction program. However, two months after its release, one of the foxes was found dead because of illegal trapping. The fox was necropsied, and a subsequent coprological study revealed oocysts of Sarcocystis sp. in the intestinal contents. The oocysts were identified as Sarcocystis pilosa based on the 18S rRNA and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene sequences. It exhibited a 99.7–100% identity with 18S rRNA gene sequences and 99.1–99.8% identity with cox1 gene sequences from other previously reported S. pilosa samples. Additionally, it showed identities of 95.4–96.4% and 91.1–91.5% with the cox1 gene sequences of S. hjorti and S. gjerdei, while demonstrating 99.6 and 98.1% identity with the 18S rRNA gene sequences of S. hjorti and S. gjerdei, respectively. This is the first report from mainland Asia, excluding the Japanese archipelago, indicating that the life cycle of S. pilosa persists in South Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites and Parasitic Diseases in Small Animals)
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