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Toxoplasmosis in feral cats and associated mammals in S. W. Western Australia

Jakob, Richard M. (1979) Toxoplasmosis in feral cats and associated mammals in S. W. Western Australia. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Feral and domestic cats, Felis catus, and some associated mammals, collected from Perth, Western Australia and over an adjacent region extending 150 km inland were examined for evidence of past or current Toxoplasma infection by serological and parasitological techniques.

Using the indirect haemagglutination (I.H.A.) test, antibodies to Toxoplasma were found in 25/66 cats west of and within the Darling Ranges (mean annual rainfall > 900 im) but not in 8 cats collected east of these ranges (m.a. rainfall < 500 mm). This difference in prevalence is statistically significant (p > 0.05). Other animals surveyed in the low rainfall region included 26 rock wallabies, Petrogale penicillata lateralis > and 7 rabbits, Oryotolagus ounicuius, all of which were serologically negative. Free-living mammals collected within the high rainfall zone in which cats were commonly exposed to Toxoplasma comprised 50 rabbits and small samples of bandicoots, Isoodon obesulus, rats, Rattus norvegicus and mice Mus musculus and these were also serologically negative.

Examination of 25 captive tammar wallabies, Macropus eugenii, revealed 2 (8%) with high I.H.A. titres and toxoplasmosis was diagnosed as the cause of death of a parma wallaby, Macropus parma, at the South Perth Zoo on the basis of history, clinical examination and histopathology.

Xenodiagnostic procedures resulted in the isolation of Toxoplasma from 3/16 diaphragms but not from 10 brains obtained from cats. All three isolates were successfully passaged in mice.

Oocysts measuring 10.0 x 12.7 y and developing a disporocystic, tetrasporozoic configuration on sporulation were isolated from 1/91 (1.1%) faecal samples from cats. Transmission experiments in mice established that these oocysts were Toxoplasma gondii and not the closely related cocci di an, Harmondia harmondi. Literature pertaining to the biology of T. gondii and the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis is reviewed.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Biology and Biomedical Science
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Dunsmore, John
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