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Epidemiological survey on gastrointestinal and pulmonary parasites in cats around Toulouse (France)

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Various feline parasites are potentially zoonotic thus establishing factors associated with parasitism is of animal and public health interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of endoparasites in client-owned cats, living in the area of Toulouse, France, over the period 2015 – 2017, and to investigate possible risk factors. A total of 498 faecal samples from cats of the University Animal Hospital of Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse were analysed, 448 from cats presented for consultation and 50 at post-mortem. Analysis was performed using a commercial flotation enrichment method with a hypersaturated sodium chloride solution and Baermann technique. Further examination of the gastrointestinal tract contents was conducted on necropsied cats. Overall, 11.6 % of cats were positive for endoparasites; 50 (11.2 %) consultation cases and 8 (16 %) post-mortem cases, with no significant difference in prevalence between the groups. Amongst infected cats, most were infected by a single species of parasite and 10.3 % (n=6) were infected with two or more. The most common parasite was Toxocara cati with a prevalence of 9.4 % (n=47). Other endoparasites encountered were: Cystoisospora sp 1.0 % (n=5), Aelurostrongylus abstrusus 1.0 % (n=5), Strongyloides sp 0.6 % (n=3), Dipylidium caninum 0.4 % (n=2), Aonchotheca putorii 0.2 % (n=1), Ancylostomatidae 0.2 % (n=1) and Toxascaris leonina 0.2 % (n=1). The examination of the gastronintestinal tract contents of the necropsied cats revealed Mesocestoides sp 0.4 % (n=2) and Tænia (Hydatigera) tæniaeformis sensu lato 0.2 % (n=1) which are seldomly diagnosed by flotation methods. In this study, increasing age and neutered status were statistically associated with reduced odds of infection by endoparasites (helminth and coccidian). Predictors of significantly increased risk included being male, intact, and not receiving regular anthelmintic treatment. The same risk factors were highlighted specifically for Toxocara cati infections, with rural location being an additional risk factor for infection.