Systemic Toxoplasmosis in Kittens
Background: Toxoplasmosis is a worldwide disease that affects virtually all species of warm-blooded animals. The felids, domestic and wild, are considered the definitive hosts of the protozoan. In Brazil, Toxoplasma gondii infection has been diagnosed in horses, goats, primates, dogs and cats. In the backlands of Paraíba, the disease has been sporadically reported affecting dogs with canine distemper and swine, but cases of systemic toxoplasmosis in cats have not yet been described. The aim of the present study was to describe the main epidemiological, clinical and anatomopathological aspects of two cases of systemic toxoplasmosis in kittens.
Cases: Two kittens were affected with three (cat 1) and six (cat 2) months old, females, and crossbreed. The kittens had not been vaccinated or dewormed, and were raised with other cats in a peridomiciliary regime in a rural area in the backlands of Paraíba. Cat 1 was thin, apathetic, dehydrated, tachypneic and with pale mucous membranes. Cat 2, showed inappetence, apathy, jaundice, fever, dehydration, dyspnea and abdominal breathing pattern. At necropsy, non-collapsed, shiny, reddish lungs with multifocal whitish areas, punctuated or nodular, measuring from 0.1 to 0.3 cm in diameter, were found on the pleural surface and parenchyma. The livers were pale, with lobular pattern accentuation, and reddish depressed multifocal areas randomly distributed on the capsular surface. Histologically, multifocal to coalescent areas of necrosis, moderate (cat 1) or marked (cat 2), associated with intralesional bradyzoites and tachyzoites and variable lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate were observed. In cat 2, numerous bradyzoites were visualized in the gray matter of the left cerebral hemisphere (temporal and parietal lobes), sometimes associated with a moderate lymphoplasmacytic inflammatory infiltrate. In the perivascular spaces of the cerebral cortex, discrete inflammatory lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate (perivascular cuffs) were observed. Immunohistochemistry for T. gondii revealed strong immunolabelling of the parasitic organisms.
Discussion: The diagnosis of systemic toxoplasmosis was established based on anatomopathological findings and histomorphological characteristics of the agent, being confirmed by immunohistochemistry. The systemic disease occurs most often in young animals, especially immunocompromised or immunologically immature neonates. In these kittens, it was not possible to determine the presence of an intercurrent immunosuppressive condition; however, both animals were kept in the peridomiciliary regime and were in contact with other cats, which may have acted as a source of infection. Besides, both kittens were raised in rural environments, condition that associated with the usual predatory behavior of this species may have favored the ingestion of infected intermediate hosts. The clinical signs of the disease vary considerably depending on the location and severity of the lesions. Infection in cats usually is asymptomatic or promotes self-limiting diarrhea as a result of protozoal enteroepithelial replication; but in some cases the protozoan can spread to other tissues, determining the occurrence of necrotic processes, dysfunction and clinical manifestations. Systemic toxoplasmosis occurs sporadically in kittens in the backlands of Paraíba, with pulmonary and hepatic clinical manifestations. The histopathological findings are characterized by tissue necrosis and lymphoplasmacytic inflammation associated with intralesional protozoa. The diagnosis can be established based on the histomorphologic characteristics of the agent and confirmed by immunohistochemistry.
Bowman D.D.,Hendrix C.M., Lindsay S.T. & Barr S.C. 2002.Feline Clinical Parasitology. Ames: Blackwell Science,469p.
Braga M.S.C.O., André M.R., Jusi M.M., Freschi C.R., Teixeira M.C.& Machado R.Z.2012.Occurrence of anti-Toxoplasma gondii and anti-Neospora caninum antibodies in cats with outdoor access in São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária.21(2):107-111.
Bresciani K.D.S., Costa A.J., Toniollo G.H., Luvizzoto M.C., Kanamura C.T., Moraes F.R., Perri S.H.&Gennari S.M. 2009. Transplacental transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in reinfected pregnant female canines. Parasitology Research. 104: 1213-1217.
Caldeira F.H.B., Ubiali D.G., Godoy I., Dutra V., Aguiar D.M., Melo A.L.T., Riet-Correa F., Colodel E.M. & Pescador C.A. 2011.Outbreak of caprine abortion by Toxoplasma gondii in Midwest Brazil. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira.31(11):933-937.
Corrêa W.M. & Corrêa C.N.M. 1992. Toxoplasmose. In: Enfermidades Infecciosas dos Mamíferos Domésticos. Rio de Janeiro: Medsi,pp.757-766.
Cunha S.E.M., Lara M.C.C.S.H., Villalobos E.M.C., Nassar A.F.C., Del Fava C., Scannapieco E.M., Cunha M.S. &Mori E. 2016.Causes of encephalitis and encephalopathy in Brazilian equids. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.38:8-13.
Da Silva A.V., Cutolo A.A. & Langoni H. 2002. Comparação da reação de imunofluorescência indireta e do método de aglutinação direta na detecção de anticorpos anti-Toxoplasma em soros de ovinos, caprinos, caninos e felinos.Arquivos do Instituto Biológico. 69(1):7-11.
Dubey J.P. & Lappin M.R. 2015.Toxoplasmosis and neosporosis. In: Greene C.E. (Ed).Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat.4th edn. St. Louis: Elsevier/Saunders, pp.842-864.
Elmore S.A., Jones J.L., Conrad P.A., Patton S., Lindsay D.S. &Dubey J.P. 2010.Toxoplasma gondii: epidemiology, feline clinical aspects, and prevention. Trends Parasitology. 26(4):190-196.
Epiphanio S., Guimarães M.A., Fedullo D.L., Correa S.H. & Catão-Dias J.L. 2000.Toxoplasmosis in golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) and emperor marmosets (Saguinus imperator) in captivity. Journal Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.31: 231-235.
Fighera R.A., Souza T.M., Silva M.C., Brum J.S., Graça, D.L., Kommers G.D., Irigoyen L.F. & Barros C.S.L. 2008.Causas de morte e razões para eutanásia de cães da Mesorregião do Centro Ocidental Rio-Grandense (1965-2004). Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira. 28:223-230.
Frade M.T.S., Maia L.A., Andrade R.L.F.S., Alves R.C., Yamasaki E.M., Mota R.A. & Dantas A.F.M. 2015.Clinical, pathological, and immunohistochemistry characterization of toxoplasmosis in dogs with distemper in the semiarid region of Paraíba, Brazil. Semina: Ciências Agrárias. 36:4251-4256.
Galvão A.L.B., Vaconcellos A.L., Navarro I.T.& Bresciani K.D.S. 2014.Aspectos da toxoplasmose na clínica de pequenos animais.Semina: Ciências Agrárias.35:393-410.
Martins M.T. 2016.Causas de morte e razões para eutanásia de gatos da Região central do Rio Grande do Sul.60f. Santa Maria, RS. Tese (Doutorado em Medicina Veterinária) - Programa de Pós-graduação em Medicina Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria.
Moretti D’Arc L., Ueno T.E., Ribeiro M.G., Aguiar D.M., Paes A.C., Pezerico S.& Silva A.V. 2002. Toxoplasmose em cães co-infectados com o vírus da cinomose. Semina: Ciências Agrárias. 23:85-91.
Motta A.C., Vieira M.I.B., Bondan C., Edelweiss M.I.A., Dametto M.A.& Gomes A. 2008.Aborto em ovinos associado à toxoplasmose: caracterização sorológica, anátomo-patológica e imunoistoquímica. Revista Brasileira de. Parasitologia Veterinária. 17:204-208.
Olinda R.G., Pena H.F., Frade M.T., Ferreira J.S., Maia L.Â., Gennari S.M., Oliveira S., Dantas A.F. &Riet-Correa F. 2016.Acute toxoplasmosis in pigs in Brazil caused by Toxoplasma gondii genotype Chinese 1. Parasitology Research.115:2561-2566.
Pena H.F.J., Evangelista C.M.&Casagrande R.A. 2017.Fatal toxoplasmosis in an immunosuppressed domestic cat from Brazil caused by Toxoplasma gondii clonal type I. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Parasitology.26:177-184.
Schenell M. 2015.Toxoplasmose felina - Revisão de literatura e soroprevalência de Toxoplasma gondii em felinos domésticos atendidos no Hospital de Clínicas Veterinárias da UFRGS. 55f. Monografia (Graduação em Medicina Veterinária). Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Faculdade de Veterinária,Porto Alegre.
Uzal F.A., Plattner B.L.&Hostetter J.M. 2016. Alimentary system. In: Maxie M.G.(Ed). Jubb, Kennedy, and Palmer’s Pathology of Domestic Animals. 6th edn. St. Louis: Elsevier,pp.139-140.
Zachary J.F. 2012. Nervous system. In: Mcgavin M.D.&Zachary J.F.(Eds). Pathologic Basis of Veterinary Disease. 5th edn. St. Louis: Elsevier, pp.809-841.
How to Cite
This journal provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work. For more information on this approach, see the Public Knowledge Project and Directory of Open Access Journals.
We define open access journals as journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. From the BOAI definition of "open access" we take the right of users to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles" as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory.
La Red y Portal Iberoamericano de Revistas Científicas de Veterinaria de Libre Acceso reúne a las principales publicaciones científicas editadas en España, Portugal, Latino América y otros países del ámbito latino