Gastrointestinal Helminths and Ectoparasites in the Stray Cats (Felidae: Felis catus) of Ahar Municipality, Northwestern Iran
AbstractBackground: The stray cats are considered as the sources of emerging humans and domestic livestock pathogens and the zoonoses of public health importance. The present study was aimed to elucidate intestinal helminth infections and infestation with ectoparasites of the stray cats of Ahar City, northwestern Iran.Methods: Totally, 51 stray cats were randomly trapped from different parts of the city between Mar and Nov 2013. The cats were assessed for ectoparasites by hair brushing, skin scraping, acetate tape preparation and othic swabs. They were euthanized and inspected for helminths infection.Results: Overall prevalence of helminths and flea were 44/51 (86.3%) and 31/51 (60.78%), respectively. The infection rates were significantly different among different age groups (P<0.05). Of the 282 isolated helminths, three species of nematodes (Toxocara cati (86.3%), T. leonina (11.77%), Ancylostoma tubaeforme (5.9%)) and four species of cestodes (Taenia taeniaeformis (64.7%), Mesocestoides lineatus (49.02%), Dipylidium caninum (29.41%), T. hydatigena (19.6%)) were identified. The predominant infectious helminths in all the infected cats were T. cati (86.3% with egg per gram of feces 27.75±9). Of the 270 collected fleas, two species of Ctenocephalides felis (80%) and C. canis (20%) were notably frequent in the cats aged 2-3-year-old. The average number of fleas per each infected cat was recorded as 5.29, with no incidence of cross-infection.Conclusion: The results indicated the high rate of helminths infections and flea infestation in the urban stray cats of which Toxocara cati and Ctenocephalides felis may play important roles as zoonotic agents in the region.
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