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      Parasites of domestic owned cats in Europe: co-infestations and risk factors

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          Abstract

          Background

          Domestic cats can be infested by a large range of parasite species. Parasitic infestations may cause very different clinical signs. Endoparasites and ectoparasites are rarely explored in the same study and therefore multiparasitism is poorly documented. The present survey aimed to improve knowledge of the prevalence and risk factors associated with ecto- and endoparasite infestations in owned cats in Europe.

          Methods

          From March 2012 to May 2013, 1519 owned cats were included in a multicenter study conducted in 9 veterinary faculties throughout Europe (Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Spain). For each cat, ectoparasites were checked by combing of the coat surface associated with otoscopic evaluation and microscopy on cerumen samples. Endoparasites were identified by standard coproscopical examinations performed on fresh faecal samples. Risk factors and their influence on parasitism were evaluated by univariate analysis followed by a multivariate statistical analysis (including center of examination, age, outdoor access, multipet status, and frequency of treatments as main criteria) with logistic regression models.

          Results

          Overall, 50.7% of cats resulted positive for at least one internal or one external parasite species. Ectoparasites were found in 29.6% of cats (CI 95 27.3-32.0%). Otodectes cynotis was the most frequently identified species (17.4%), followed by fleas (15.5%). Endoparasites were identified in 35.1% of the cats (CI 95 32.7-35.7%), including gastro-intestinal helminths in 25.7% (CI 95 23.5-28.0), respiratory nematodes in 5.5% (CI 95 4.2-7.0%) and protozoans in 13.5% (CI 95 11.8-15.3%). Toxocara cati was the most commonly diagnosed endoparasite (19.7%, CI 95 17.8-21.8%). Co-infestation with endoparasites and ectoparasites was found in 14.0% of the cats, and 11.9% harbored both ectoparasites and gastro-intestinal helminths.

          Age, outdoor access, living with other pets, and anthelmintic or insecticide treatments were significantly associated with the prevalence of various parasites.

          Conclusions

          This survey demonstrates that parasitism is not a rare event in European owned cat populations. The prevalence of multi-parasitism is significantly greater than expected by chance and hence there is tendency for some individual cats to be more prone to infestation by both endo- and ectoparasites due to common risk factors.

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          Most cited references 48

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          FLOTAC: new multivalent techniques for qualitative and quantitative copromicroscopic diagnosis of parasites in animals and humans.

          Accurate diagnosis of parasitic infections is of pivotal importance for both individual patient management and population-based studies, such as drug efficacy trials and surveillance of parasitic disease control and elimination programs, in both human and veterinary public health. In this study, we present protocols for the FLOTAC basic, dual and double techniques, which are promising new multivalent, sensitive, accurate and precise methods for qualitative and quantitative copromicroscopic analysis. These various methods make use of the FLOTAC apparatus, a cylindrical device with two 5-ml flotation chambers, which allows up to 1 g of stool to be prepared for microscopic analysis. Compared with currently more widely used diagnostic methods for parasite detection in animals (e.g., McMaster and Wisconsin techniques) and humans (e.g., Kato-Katz and ether-based concentration techniques), the FLOTAC techniques show higher sensitivity and accuracy. All FLOTAC techniques can be performed on fresh fecal material as well as preserved stool samples, and require approximately 12-15 min of preparation time before microscopic analysis.
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            Emerging arthropod-borne diseases of companion animals in Europe.

            Vector-borne diseases are caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses transmitted by the bite of hematophagous arthropods (mainly ticks and mosquitoes). The past few years have seen the emergence of new diseases, or re-emergence of existing ones, usually with changes in their epidemiology (i.e. geographical distribution, prevalence, and pathogenicity). The frequency of some vector-borne diseases of pets is increasing in Europe, i.e. canine babesiosis, granulocytic anaplasmosis, canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, thrombocytic anaplasmosis, and leishmaniosis. Except for the last, these diseases are transmitted by ticks. Both the distribution and abundance of the three main tick species, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Dermacentor reticulatus and Ixodes ricinus are changing. The conditions for such changes involve primarily human factors, such as travel with pets, changes in human habitats, social and leisure activities, but climate changes also have a direct impact on arthropod vectors (abundance, geographical distribution, and vectorial capacity). Besides the most known diseases, attention should be kept on tick-borne encephalitis, which seems to be increasing in western Europe, as well as flea-borne diseases like the flea-transmitted rickettsiosis. Here, after consideration of the main reasons for changes in tick vector ecology, an overview of each "emerging" vector-borne diseases of pets is presented.
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              Factors associated with the rapid emergence of zoonotic Bartonella infections.

              Within the last 15 years, several bacteria of the genus Bartonella were recognized as zoonotic agents in humans and isolated from various mammalian reservoirs. Based on either isolation of the bacterium or PCR testing, eight Bartonella species or subspecies have been recognized as zoonotic agents, including B. henselae, B. elizabethae, B. grahamii, B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis, B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. grahamii, B. washoensis and more recently B. koehlerae. The present manuscript reviews the factors associated with the emergence of these zoonotic pathogens, including better diagnostic tools and methods to identify these fastidious bacteria, host immunosuppression (caused by infectious agents, cancer, aging or induced by immunosuppressive drugs), the interaction of co-infection by several infectious agents that may enhanced the pathogenecity of these bacteria, increased outdoor activity leading to exposure to wildlife reservoirs or vectors, poverty and low income associated with infestation by various ectoparasites, such as body lice and finally the dispersal of Bartonellae around the world. Furthermore, a description of the main epidemiological and clinical features of zoonotic Bartonellae is given. Finally, the main means for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases are presented.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central
                1756-3305
                2014
                25 June 2014
                : 7
                : 291
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Merial S.A.S., 29 Av Tony Garnier, Lyon 69007, France
                [2 ]VetAgro Sup, Campus Vétérinaire de Lyon, Marcy-L’Étoile, Lyon, France
                [3 ]Oniris, Site de la Chantrerie, Atlanpôle, Nantes, France
                [4 ]University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
                [5 ]Faculty of Veterinary Science, Budapest, Hungary
                [6 ]Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, Parasitology, Maisons-Alfort, France
                [7 ]Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Wien, Austria
                [8 ]Ecole Vétérinaire, Liège, Belgium
                [9 ]Veterinary Faculty, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
                [10 ]Veterinary Faculty, Bari, Italy
                [11 ]Veterinary Faculty, Napoli, Italy
                Article
                1756-3305-7-291
                10.1186/1756-3305-7-291
                4082530
                24965063
                Copyright © 2014 Beugnet et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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