Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Clinical Pathologist Dr. Yvonne Wikander recently co-authored a major review paper over Cytauxzoon felis, a tick-transmitted pathogen in feline. C. felis is the causative agent of cytauxzoonosis, a disease often seen in domestic cats.
Cytauxzoon felis is a tick-transmitted, obligate, hemoprotozoal, piroplasmid pathogen of felids and the causative agent of cytauxzoonosis. It has a complex life cycle which includes a tick as its definitive host and a felid as its intermediate host. Since its first description in 1976, C. felis infections of felids have been reported in several southeastern and south-central U.S. states, overlapping with the ranges of its two known biological vectors, Amblyomma americanum(Lone star tick) and Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick). Infected felids demonstrate disease as either an acute, often-fatal, infection, or a subclinical carrier infection. To develop effective C. felis transmission control strategies, the incidence of acute cytauxzoonosis, patient risk factors, the role of domestic cat carriers, and ecological variabilities need to be investigated further. Of equal importance is communicating these strategies for high-risk cat populations, including recommending year-round use of an acaricide product for all cats that spend any time outdoors. More studies are needed to further identify factors affecting C. felis and other Cytauxzoon spp. infection, transmission, disease progression, and treatment options and outcomes within the U.S. and globally. Here we provide an overview of C. felishighlighting its lifecycle within its definitive host, transmission to its intermediate host, symptoms and signs providing evidence of transmission, definitive diagnosis, current treatment and prevention strategies, and future considerations regarding this condition.
In the article, Dr. Wikander gives insight to the pathogen’s history, phylogeny, life cycle, and more. Access the full article in the Pathogens journal.