From 2004 to 2009, the digestive tracts of 111 dogs from suburban areas around Tirana, Albania, were examined for intestinal helminths. In addition, rectal faecal samples of all dogs were examined for protozoan infections and 48 faecal samples from dogs >6 months of age were processed with the Baermann technique to test for the excretion of lungworm larvae. The heart and pulmonary arteries of 30 dogs >6 months of age also were examined for nematode parasites. The intestinal parasite fauna of the dogs included three protozoan species (Cystoisospora canis, Cystoisospora ohioensis/burrowsi, Sarcocystis spp.), three cestode species (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia hydatigena, Echinococcus granulosus), five nematode species (Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala, Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina, Trichuris vulpis) and one acanthocephalan (Centrorhynchus buteonis). Rates of infection were: 15.3% for C. canis, 31.5% for C. ohioensis/burrowsi, 1.8% for Sarcocystis spp., 65.8% for D. caninum, 16.2% for T. hydatigena, 2.7% for E. granulosus (genotype G1), 13.5% for A. caninum, 64.9% for U. stenocephala, 75.7% for T. canis, 0.9% for T. leonina, 21.6% for T. vulpis and 0.9% for C. buteonis. Up to six species of gastrointestinal parasites were found per dog. The 63 ≤ 6-month-old dogs harboured significantly (p<0.001) fewer gastrointestinal parasite species concurrently (mean 2.65 ± 1.25 species per animal) than the 48 older animals (mean 3.77 ± 1.45 species per animal). Dogs >6 months of age harboured significantly (p<0.05) more D. caninum, T. hydatigena, A. caninum, U. stenocephala and T. vulpis compared to younger dogs. Conversely, the younger dogs harboured significantly (p<0.001) more T. canis than the older ones. There was no difference in the male and female dogs' counts of individual intestinal helminth species apart from T. hydatigena in dogs >6 months of age: Male dogs harboured significantly (p<0.05) more tapeworms than female dogs. Based on faecal examination, there was no indication for lungworm infection; however, two adult heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) were found in the right ventricle of one dog.
One hundred eighty-one dogs and 26 short-hair cats from suburban areas around Tirana, Albania were examined for ectoparasite infestation. The dogs were examined on several occasions from 2005 through 2009 representing three seasons: winter (December-February), spring (March-May), and summer (June-August); the cats were examined in late autumn (November). In addition, deep ear swab specimens of 30 dogs were examined for ear mites. The arthropod ectoparasite fauna of the dogs included two tick species (Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Ixodes ricinus), three mite species (Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis, Otodectes cynotis, and Demodex canis), three flea species (Ctenocephalides canis, Ctenocephalides felis, and Pulex irritans), and one louse species (Trichodectes canis). In the dogs, rates of infestation were 23.8% for R. sanguineus, 0.6% for I. ricinus, 4.4% for S. scabiei var. canis, 6.7% for O. cynotis, 0.6% for D. canis, 75.7% for C. canis, 5.0% for C. felis, 8.3% for P. irritans, and 6.6% for T. canis. Mixed infestation with two or three species of ectoparasites was recorded on 38.1% of the dogs. Fleas infested 75.7% dogs (geometric mean, 3.96; range, 1-80) and were observed in winter, spring, and summer with increasing prevalences of 64.3%, 75.9%, and 100%. Ticks parasitized 24.3% of the dogs (geometric mean, 0.41; range, 1-331). R. sanguineus ticks were recorded on 34.2% and 50% of the dogs examined in spring and summer, respectively, but were absent on the dogs during winter except for a single I. ricinus specimen observed. Prevalence of infestation with R. sanguineus, S. scabiei var. canis, C. felis, P. irritans, and T. canis did not differ between dogs< or = 6 months and dogs > 6 months of age; however, prevalence of infestation with C. canis was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in dogs > 6 months old. There was no difference between the sexes for the prevalences of infestation with those parasites. The examination of the cats revealed infestation with only one species of ectoparasite, C. felis (prevalence, 100%; geometric mean, 2.5; range, 1-9).
BackgroundAlbania is a country on the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Mediterranean climate is favourable for the stable development of many arthropod species, which are incriminated as vectors for various agents. Recently, several papers have reported on epidemiological aspects of parasitic diseases including vector-borne disease agents of dogs with zoonotic characteristics in Albania. However, data on the epidemiology of feline parasitic and bacterial agents in Albania is scarce.MethodsSerum and EDTA-blood samples collected from 146 domestic cats from Tirana during 2008 through 2010 were examined for exposure to Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, Leishmania infantum, and Anaplasma spp. with IFAT, for infection with L. infantum, A. phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp. and haemotropic mycoplasmas with conventional PCR and real-time PCR and for Dirofilaria immitis with antigen ELISA. Additionally blood smear microscopy was carried out for detection of blood-borne pathogens.ResultsAntibodies to T. gondii (titre ≥1:100) were demonstrated in 91 cats (62.3%). Antibodies to N. caninum (titre ≥1:100), L. infantum (titre ≥1:64) and Anaplasma spp. (titre ≥1:100) were found in the serum of 15 (10.3%), 1 (0.7%) or 3 (2.1%) cats, respectively. DNA of haemotropic mycoplasmas was detected in the blood of 45 cats (30.8%), namely Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (21.9%), Mycoplasma haemofelis (10.3%), and Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis (5.5%), with ten cats harbouring co-infections of two mycoplasmas each; blood from one cat was PCR positive for Bartonella henselae. No DNA of Leishmania spp. and A. phagocytophilum or circulating D. immitis antigen was detected in any cat sample. The overall prevalence of haemotropic mycoplasmas was significantly higher in male compared to female cats (40.6% vs. 24.1%, p = 0.0444); and age was associated positively with the prevalence of antibodies to T. gondii (p = 0.0008) and the percentage of haemotropic mycoplasma infection (p = 0.0454).ConclusionsWith the broad screening panel including direct and indirect methods applied in the present study, a wide spectrum of exposure to or infection with parasitic or bacterial agents was detected.
Following the recovery of first-stage nematode larvae indicative of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infection in the faeces of free-roaming cats from the greater Tirana area, examination of 18 cats at necropsy revealed nine of them harbouring adult A. abstrusus (Railliet, 1898) in the lungs (prevalence, 50%; range, 1-11). In addition to A. abstrusus, Eucoleus aerophilus (16.7%; 1-9) was isolated from the lungs, and Toxocara cati (83.3%; 2-33), Ancylostoma tubaeforme (44.4%; 1-20), Dipylidium caninum (83.3%; 1-164), Joyeuxiella pasqualei (11.1%; 1-3) and one specimen of an acanthocephalan (5.5%) were recovered from the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, oocysts of Cystoisospora felis and C. rivolta were found in the rectal faeces of 5.6% and 11.1% of the cats, respectively. In conclusion, the prevalence of endoparasite infection in free-roaming cats in Tirana can be considered to be high. The occurrence of A. abstrusus, which may cause respiratory distress in cats, is reported for the first time in Albania.
During 2008 to 2011, faecal samples, ear swabs, and ectoparasites obtained by full body search and total body comb were collected from 252 cats originating from the greater Tirana area. Faecal samples were examined using the McMaster and Baermann techniques, and a subset of 58 samples was tested for Giardia-specific antigen using a coproantigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The ear swabs were examined for the presence of parasitic mites. Overall, almost 93% of the cats were identified harbouring one or more parasites: 59.1% (95% confidence interval (CI), 53.0-65.0) and 86.9% (95% CI, 82.7-91.1) of the cats tested positive for ecto- or endoparasites, respectively; 53.2% of the cats had evidence for concomitant ectoparasite infestation and endoparasite infection. For ectoparasite infestation, prevalence was 52.0% for total fleas (Ctenocephalides felis, 51.2%; Ctenocephalides canis, 2.0%; and Leptopsylla segnis, 0.4%), 8.3% each for Felicola subrostratus and Otodectes cynotis and 4.0 % for Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato. The most prevalent endoparasites were Toxocara ascarids (48.0%), followed by Aelurostrongylus lungworms (39.7%), Capillaria spp. (31.7%), hookworms (32.9%), dipylidiid cestodes (27.8 %), Cystoisospora spp. (23.4%) and taeniid cestodes (2.0%). One animal was found shedding Pseudamphistomum truncatum eggs. Giardia-specific antigen was detected in 29.3% of the 58 cats tested. Mixed infections with up to six endoparasites concurrently (excluding Giardia) and mixed infestations with two or three species of ectoparasites were recorded in 73.1 and 22.8% of the parasite-positive cats, respectively. Cats ≤9 months of age were more frequently tested (p < 0.05) positive for Toxocara and Cystoisospora infections than cats >9 months while these cats tested more often (p < 0.05) Aelurostrongylus-positive compared with the younger cats. The prevalence of infestation with ectoparasites did not differ between the cats of these two age groups. Given the impact that some of the parasites may have upon animal health as well as the zoonotic potential of some of them, measures should be taken to minimise the transmission of these parasites.
Summary. The importance of arthropod-borne diseases increased in the recent past in particular due to frequent travel with dogs in or by importing of dogs from regions with endemic occurrence of these diseases. While the epidemiological situation is well known for the western parts of the Mediterranean, only limited data is available for Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Thirty clinically healthy dogs from suburban areas of Tirana, Albania, were tested for Babesia canis, Hepatozoon spp., Leishmania spp., Dirofilaria spp., Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp. and Rickettsia spp. using direct and indirect methods. Antibodies against and/or pathogens of arthropod-borne diseases were detected in the blood of 20 (67%) dogs. Nineteen dogs (63%) had antibodies against B. canis, E. canis and/or A. phagocytophilum. Babesia c. canis, Babesia c. vogeli, Hepatozoon spp., D. immitis and/or E. canis were identified by blood smear, PCR or ELISA in 13 (43%) dogs. There was no evidence for Leishmania spp., Bartonella spp. and Rickettsia spp. infections.
A novel topical combination product (BROADLINE(®), Merial) composed of fipronil, (S)-methoprene, eprinomectin and praziquantel was evaluated for safety and efficacy against nematode and cestode infections in domestic cats. The study comprised a multi-centre, positive control, blinded, field study, using a randomized block design based on order of presentation for allocation. In total 196 client-owned cats, confirmed as positive for naturally acquired infections of nematodes and/or cestodes by pre-treatment faecal examination, were studied in seven countries in Europe. Pre-treatment faecal examination revealed the presence of Toxocara, hookworm, Capillaria and/or spirurid nematode infections in 129, 73, 33 or 1 cat(s), respectively; infections with taeniid and Dipylidium cestodes were demonstrated in 39 and 17 cats, respectively. Cats were allocated randomly to one of two treatments in a ratio of 2, topical fipronil (8.3%, w/v), (S)-methoprene (10%, w/v), eprinomectin (0.4%, w/v) and praziquantel (8.3%, w/v) (BROADLINE(®), Merial; 130 cats); and 1, topical PROFENDER(®) Spot-On (Bayer; 66 cats) and treated once on Day 0. For evaluation of efficacy, two faecal samples were collected, one prior to treatment (Day -4 ± 4 days) and one at the end of the study (Day 14 ± 5 days). These were examined for fecal forms of nematode and cestode parasites. For evaluation of safety, cats were examined by a veterinarian before treatment and at the end of the study, and cat owners recorded the health status of their cats daily until the end of the study. For cats treated with Broadline(®), the efficacy was >99.9%, 100%, and 99.6% for Toxocara, hookworms, and Capillaria, respectively; and the efficacy was >99.9%, >99.9%, and 98.5%, respectively, for the cats treated with Profender(®) (p<0.001 for all nematodes and both treatments). Efficacy was 100% for both cestodes for both treatments (p<0.001). No treatment related adverse experiences were observed throughout the study. For both treatments, every cat that completed the study was given a safety score of 'excellent' for both local and systemic evaluations. The topical combination product of fipronil, (S)-methoprene, eprinomectin and praziquantel was shown to have an excellent safety profile and demonstrated high levels of efficacy when administered once as topical solution to cats infected with nematodes and cestodes under field conditions.
Afoxolaner (AFX) plus milbemycin oxime (MO) combination chewable tablets (NexGard Spectra®, Merial) were evaluated for safety and efficacy against naturally acquired nematode infections in domestic dogs in a multi-centre, positive control, blinded field study using a randomized block design based on the order of presentation for allocation. In total, 408 dogs confirmed positive for naturally acquired infections of intestinal nematodes by pre-treatment faecal examination were studied in ten countries in Europe (Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia). Pre-treatment faecal examination revealed Toxocara, Toxascaris, hookworm, Trichuris and/or Capillaria nematode infections in 134, 30, 223, 155 and 14 dogs, respectively. Dogs were allocated to one of two treatment groups in a ratio of 1, AFX + MO chewables (≥2.5 mg AFX + ≥0.5 mg MO per kg body weight, according to dose bands; 207 dogs), and 1, MO plus praziquantel (PRZ) chewables (Milbemax®, Novartis; ≥0.5 mg MO + ≥5 mg PRZ per kg body weight, according to the manufacturer's instructions; 201 dogs) and treated once. For evaluation of efficacy based on reduction of faecal nematode egg counts, two faecal samples, one collected prior to treatment and one collected 9 to 21 days after treatment, were examined using modified McMaster techniques. For evaluation of systemic safety, dogs were examined by a veterinarian before treatment administration and at study end, and dog owners observed the health status of their dogs until the end of the study and reported any abnormal observation. For dogs treated with AFX + MO chewables, the efficacy was 99.7, 99.7, 97.2, 99.7 and 99.7 % for Toxocara, Toxascaris, hookworm, Trichuris and Capillaria, respectively; and the efficacy was 99.5, 99.4, 94.3, 99.9 and 98.0 %, respectively, for the MO + PRZ-treated dogs (p ≤ 0.002 for all nematodes and both treatments). For Toxocara, hookworm and Trichuris, non-inferiority analysis demonstrated that the efficacy of AFX + MO chewable tablets was equal to or better than that of MO + PRZ. In spite that both treatments were ≥98 % efficacious against Toxascaris and Capillaria, a hypothesis of non-inferiority for both genera could not be established due to the low number of dogs infected with these parasites. No treatment-related adverse experiences were observed throughout the study. For both treatments, all dogs were given a systemic safety score of 'excellent' apart from one dog in each treatment group which received a score of 'acceptable'. AFX + MO combination chewables were shown to be safe and demonstrated a high level of efficacy when administered once to dogs infected with a broad range of parasitic nematodes under field conditions.
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