Vector-borne diseases (VBD) are caused by a range of pathogens transmitted by arthropods and have emerged in recent years, showing a wider geographic distribution and increased global prevalence. In addition to their veterinary medical importance, cats play a central role in the transmission cycles of some VBD agents by acting as reservoirs, amplifying hosts or sentinels. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis antigen and of antibodies to Leishmania infantum in a sample of 271 cats from southern Portugal. Thirteen (4.8%) cats were positive to D. immitis, while antibodies to L. infantum were detected in 10 (3.7%) animals. The prevalence of D. immitis and L. infantum in the feline population from southern Portugal should alert for the need to implement control measures to protect animals and people from these zoonotic parasites. Furthermore, both parasitoses must be included in the differential diagnosis in feline clinical practice.
- Dirofilaria immitis
- Leishmania infantum