Hemoprotozoa of domestic animals in France: prevalence and molecular characterization.
Very limited information is available on epizootiology of haematozoan infections in French domestic animals. In an attempt to address this issue, prevalence of piroplasmida was studied in carnivores and ruminants, whereas prevalence of Hepatozoon spp. was only investigated in carnivores. In total, 383 animals were included in the survey (namely 116 cats, 108 dogs, 91 sheep and 68 cows). Parasite diagnosis was carried out using molecular methods such as PCR and sequencing of the 18S rRNA gene. In addition, ruminant samples were analyzed with the reverse line blotting technique (RLB). Results of RLB and PCR plus sequencing were in total agreement. In carnivores, haematozoan prevalence was close to 1%. Two cats were infected by H. canis (1.7% prevalence) and one of them was co-infected by Cytauxzoon sp. (0.8%). This represents the first finding of both pathogens in French cats. One dog was infected by H. canis (0.9%) and another by Babesia canis vogeli (0.9%). In ruminants, haematozoan prevalence (piroplasmida) was significantly higher than in carnivores (4.8% in sheep and 8.8% in cow). Theileria ovis was found in 1 sheep, Theileria sp. in 2 sheep, Theileria buffeli in 5 cows and B. major in 1 cow. Evidence presented in this contribution indicates that haematic protozoa are not widely distributed in domestic mammal populations of France.