[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Repeated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of 3 asymptomatic domestic cats were positive for Cytauxzoon felis DNA, suggesting persistent infection. Two cats initially presented with clinical signs consistent with acute cytauxzoonosis and, in both cases, signs of illness resolved after treatment. Parasitemia was detected in peripheral blood smears from these cats upon presentation with illness and, at subsequent follow-up appointments, in the absence of clinical illness. Polymerase chain reaction analysis was positive for C. felis from blood sampled at each time point. A third cat, a housemate of a cat fatally infected with C. felis, was preventatively treated for infection at the time of the housemate cat's death. This contact cat, having never shown signs of clinical illness consistent with cytauxzoonosis infection, had no detectable parasitemia but was positive for C. felis on repeated PCR testing. Detection of asymptomatically infected cats allows for the possibility of a yet unrecognized population of infected domestic cats that may have the capacity to serve as an additional reservoir host for C. felis, altering the currently accepted paradigm of C. felis transmission to domestic cats through bobcats as the reservoir host. In cases of very low parasitemia, more sensitive means of parasite detection, such as PCR testing, may be necessary to detect infected cats. Increased detection of asymptomatically infected cats will aid in understanding the epidemiology of C. felis infection and enhance the ability to prevent this highly fatal infectious disease of domestic cats.
Preview · Article · Aug 2008 · Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation: official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc