Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Clinical toxoplasmosis in two meerkats (Suricata suricatta) in Israel.

Abstract

This case study describes the diagnosis of clinical toxoplasmosis in two meerkats (Suricata suricatta) from the Safari-zoological center, Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan. The meerkats showed neurological signs such as incoordination, lethargia, anorexia and one of them died. Gross pathology revealed diffuse congestion and hyperemia of all lung lobes and diffuse bright coloration of the liver parenchyma. On histopathology, the myocardium, cerebrum, cerebral meninges and lungs contained multiple intralesional parasitic cysts consistent with Toxoplasma gondii. The diagnosis was confirmed by PCR and sequence analysis. The second meerkat was diagnosed early with Toxoplasma gondii by serology, was treated and was fully recovered. This is the first report of toxoplasmosis in Meerkats in Israel. Possible sources of infection would include ingestion of tissues from infected intermediate hosts, hunting of feral infected animals, contamination of the zoo environment with oocysts and recrudescence of a chronic infection by unknown causes. It appears that meerkats are highly susceptible to T. gondii infection, however early diagnosis of meerkat presenting with neurological signs and efficient treatment can result in full recovery.