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Mucus and water as a transmission source for feline lungworm

A. Giannelli, V. Colella, F. Abramo, R. Antonio do Nascimento Ramos, L. Falsone, E. Brianti and others

GASTROPOD-borne parasites may cause debilitating clinical conditions in both animals and people when the infected intermediate or paratenic hosts are ingested. Gastropod mucus and water have been suspected as a source of infection for some zoonotic metastrongyloids. The feline lungworms Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Trichostrongylus brevior have been increasing in cat populations; the epidemiology is poorly understood but gastropods have been suspected as being a factor. The aim of this study was to assess the potential of alternative transmission pathways for A abstrusus and T brevior, via the mucus of infected Helix aspersa snails and the water where snails die.

Twenty-four H aspersa specimens were selected to receive around 500 L1 larvae of A abstrusus and T brevior, and were assigned to one of six study groups. Various mechanical and chemical stimuli were applied over a 20-day period to induce them to produce mucus for observation. The snails were then submerged in water and, over the next three days, the sediment was observed for lungworm larvae. Finally, …

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