It is especially important that veterinarians begin to take a more active role in our nation’s human health promotion and disease prevention initiatives in the 21st century. Of approximately 1,400 conference attendees at the unveiling of Healthy People 2010 in Washington, DC, in January 2000, only six were veterinarians. Three of these veterinarians had been sponsored by the AVMA; two of them presented scientific poster sessions, and one delivered a platform presentation. Of the remaining three veterinarians in attendance, two were conference organizers and one was a bona fide attendee.1 Nevertheless, other health care professionals challenged
Case Description—3 Geoffroy's tamarins (Saguinus geoffroyi) in a zoo in east central Alabama developed neurologic signs shortly after a tamarin kept in the same enclosure was found dead.
Clinical Findings—Neurologic abnormalities varied among animals and were progressive. One female tamarin with a head tilt, nystagmus, mild ataxia, and paresis of a thoracic limb had gram-positive cocci present in an ear canal with otitis media and interna suspected. Another female with mild ataxia attributed to previous tail amputation developed seizures, and a male tamarin with tail tip trauma also developed ataxia.
Treatment and Outcome—The tamarin with suspected otitis received cephalexin and prednisolone, but neurologic signs worsened, and the patient died. Preliminary examination of necropsy samples revealed severe meningoencephalitis in both deceased tamarins. Prednisolone and phenobarbital treatment was initiated for the tamarin with seizures, but rapid neurologic deterioration led to euthanasia. Further histologic examination of the 3 deceased tamarins revealed meningitis and acute perivascular hemorrhage in the meninges. Parasites morphologically consistent with Angiostrongylus (Parastrongylus) cantonensis were present in the lungs of 1 animal and in the meninges of 2. The surviving tamarin received cephalexin for tail tip trauma and prednisolone and albendazole for presumed meningoencephalitis and parasitic infection but had permanent neurologic deficits.
Clinical Relevance—To our knowledge, these represent the first cases of A cantonensis infection in Geoffroy's tamarins and the first report of its presence in the United States not associated with a major shipping port. The presence of a mature worm in the lungs of 1 tamarin suggested completion of the parasite life cycle, previously reported only in rats.
Case Description—A 21-month-old spayed female Border Collie was examined because of progressive right forelimb lameness, signs of pain, and subcutaneous edema. The dog lived in a fenced yard in Tampa, Fla, that contained a small area of marshy terrain.
Clinical Findings—The subcutis and intermuscular fascia contained multiple cystic cavities filled with larval cestodes (plerocercoids or spargana) and cloudy red fluid. Parasites were identified morphologically and by DNA sequence analysis as pseudophyllidean cestodes, most likely Sparganum proliferum. The dog developed a progressively worsening fever, dyspnea, mature neutrophilia, and hypoproteinemia. Septic pleuritis and peritonitis complicated the later stages of the disease.
Treatment and Outcome—Treatment with praziquantel, fenbendazole, and nitazoxanide failed to control the proliferation and dissemination of larval cestodes. The dog was euthanatized after 133 days of treatment. At necropsy, numerous parasitic tissue cysts were present in the subcutis and intermuscular fascia; these cysts were most abundant in the soft tissues of the forelimbs and cervical musculature. The pleural and peritoneal cavities contained multiple larval cestodes and were characterized by neutrophilic inflammation and secondary bacterial infection.
Clinical Relevance—Findings indicated that clinical signs associated with proliferative sparganosis in dogs may be rapidly progressive and that the condition may be refractory to antiparasitic treatment. Veterinarians should be aware of this zoonotic, water-borne agent.