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Evaluation of experimental transmission of Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum and Mycoplasma haemofelis by Ctenocephalides felis to cats

James E. WoodsDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Melissa M. BrewerDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Jennifer R. HawleyDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Nancy WisnewskiHeska Corp, 1613 Prospect Pkwy, Fort Collins, CO 80525.

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Michael R. LappinDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether Ctenocephalides felis can transmit Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf) and Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (Mhm) through hematophagous activity between cats.

Animals—11 cats.

Procedure—2 cats were carriers of either Mhf or Mhm. Nine cats had negative results via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for Mhf and Mhm DNA; 3 of those cats were infected from the chronic carriers via IV inoculation of blood. At the time of maximum organism count for each of the Mycoplasma spp, 1 chamber containing 100 C felis was bandaged to the amplifier cats. Five days later, fleas, feces, larvae, or eggs from each chamber were analyzed for Mycoplasma spp DNA. Viable fleas from the chambers were allocated into new chambers (3 Mhm and 6 Mhf) and attached to naïve cats for 5 days. Cats were monitored daily for clinical signs and weekly via CBC and PCR assay for infection with Mhf or Mhm for a minimum of 8 weeks.

Results—Uptake of Mhf and Mhm DNA into fleas, feces, and, potentially, eggs and larvae was detected. Of the naïve cats fed on by Mhf-infected fleas, 1 cat transiently yielded positive PCR assay results for Mhf on 1 sampling date without clinical or hematologic changes consistent with Mhf infection.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that hematophagous transfer of Mhm and Mhf into fleas occurred and that C felis is a possible vector for Mhf via hematophagous activity. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1008–1012)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether Ctenocephalides felis can transmit Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf) and Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (Mhm) through hematophagous activity between cats.

Animals—11 cats.

Procedure—2 cats were carriers of either Mhf or Mhm. Nine cats had negative results via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for Mhf and Mhm DNA; 3 of those cats were infected from the chronic carriers via IV inoculation of blood. At the time of maximum organism count for each of the Mycoplasma spp, 1 chamber containing 100 C felis was bandaged to the amplifier cats. Five days later, fleas, feces, larvae, or eggs from each chamber were analyzed for Mycoplasma spp DNA. Viable fleas from the chambers were allocated into new chambers (3 Mhm and 6 Mhf) and attached to naïve cats for 5 days. Cats were monitored daily for clinical signs and weekly via CBC and PCR assay for infection with Mhf or Mhm for a minimum of 8 weeks.

Results—Uptake of Mhf and Mhm DNA into fleas, feces, and, potentially, eggs and larvae was detected. Of the naïve cats fed on by Mhf-infected fleas, 1 cat transiently yielded positive PCR assay results for Mhf on 1 sampling date without clinical or hematologic changes consistent with Mhf infection.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that hematophagous transfer of Mhm and Mhf into fleas occurred and that C felis is a possible vector for Mhf via hematophagous activity. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1008–1012)