Ollulanus tricuspis


Ollulanustricuspis Leuckart, 1865

(Figures 4-13 through 4-14)

ETYMOLOGY:Ollula (diminuative of olla; olla = earthen pot, jar) + anus (anus) and tri (three + cuspis (a point) relative to the three cusps on the tail of the adult female.

SYNONYMS:Ollulanusskrjabini, Ollulanussuis

HISTORY: Leuckart (1865) found a small bursate nematode in the stomach of a domestic cat that he named Ollulanustricuspis. Leuckart believed that the intermediate host was the mouse, but he was looking at the larvae of the lungworm, Aelurostrongylusabstrusus.

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: Hasslinger (1984) presents the geographical distribution of Ollulanustricuspis in Europe and around the world. Hasslinger cites reports for Canada, USA, Argentina, Chile, Egypt, and Australia. It also appears that this worm is much more commonly found in colony cats. Hasslinger reported that it was found in about 40% of cats that were allowed to roam freely in Germany; Schuster et al. (1997) reported the parasite in 12% of 155 cats from the eastern part of the state of Brandenburg..

LOCATION IN HOST: These worms live in the mucosa of the stomach of the cat (Fig 4-13).

PARASITE IDENTIFICATION: The adult worms are quite small (Cameron, 1923). The anterior end of the worm usually coils around on itself. There is a relatively large, "cup-shaped," buccal capsule that contains no teeth, cutting plates, or other ancillary structures. The esophagus is about one-third to one-half the length of the intestine and is slightly swollen where it joins the intestine. The mail is 0.7 to 09.8 mm longs by about 0.35 mm wide, and has a well developed copulatory bursa. The female is 0.8 mm to 1.0 mm long by 0.04 mm wide. The tail of the female bears 3 major cusps or bumps that may occasionlly be accompanied by two minor ones. The vulva is in the posterior part of the body of the female, and she has only a single ovary and uterus and does not possess a muscular ovvijector (Cameron, 1927). The eggs in the female are few in number, and large relative to the size of the female. The egg undergoes embryonation within the female, hatches within the uterus. The first-stage larva inside the female is about 0.35 mm long, or about one-third the length of the female worm. The second- and third-stage larvae also develop within the female, who gives birth to the third-stage larva.

The antemortem diagnosis of infection is difficult. The adults and larvae of Ollulanustricuspis that enter the intestine are usually dead, killed, destroyed, or digested before they are passed in the feces. Thus, it is only on rare occasions that diagnosis is made by direct fecal smears or fecal flotation methods (Hargis et al., 1983a). Hasslinger (1984) recommends two methods for antemortem diagnosis: induction of vomiting and stomach irrigation. Emesis is induced by the administration of xylazine. Hargis et al (1983a) report that the examination of induced vomitis is successful in making a diagnosis in about 70% of infected cats. Stomach irrigation is performed in anesthetized cats using physiologic saline. The fluid collected in the irrigation is then examined after centrifugation or after larvae are collected using a Baermann apparatus.

Postmortem diagnosis of infection can be made from washings or scraping of the stomach mucosa or by peptic digestion of the stomach wall (Hasslinger, 1984). The washings of the stomach wall are centrifuged and then examined microscopically. For examination of the stomach by scraping, Hasslinger reports the examination of "rice-grain" size scrapings from each of ten sites on the stomach wall: 2 sites on the cardiac stomach, 4 on the fundus, and 4 on the pyloric stomach. The samples were place on a slide with a drop of saline and examined with low power (35x) microscopy. To aid in the examination, KOH was often then added to the material to aid in the dissolution of the mucosal particles removed by the scraping. The digestion of the stomach wall involved the preparation of routine pepsin digestion fluid. The stomach was then opened, everted, and pinned to a cork that was suspended to an extension on the top of a funnel that was closed by attaching tubing bearing a pinch clamp. The digest was maintained at 37C for 4 to 8 hours, then the clamp was opened and the material collected in the bottom of the funnel was examined. This procedure worked best for fresh material containing live parasites.

LIFE CYCLE: Transmission from cat to cat appears to be direct through the consumption of vomitus. Cameron (1927) examined the life cycle and found that there were third-stage larve within the adult female and free within the lumen of the cat stomach. The larvae within the female were 0.4 mm long, while those in the stomach were 0.5 mm long. Fourth-stage larvae were usually found on the surface of the gastric mucosa, and are around 0.65 mm long. Cameron (1927) felt that the transmission was through vomition and that there were not paratenic hosts involved in the life cycle. Wittmann (1982) like Cameron, also failed to produce infections in mice that were fed the third-stage larvae or third- and fourth-stage larvae along with adults failed to harbor any larvae at the time that they were examined. Wittmann (1982) has shown that the infection can be transmitted between cats by the feeding of the adult males and females, fourth-stage larvae, or third-stage larvae. Thus, all stages passed in the vomitus are capable of infecting another host. Also, he showed that the parasites can live in the vomitus for up to 12 days. The period required for an infection with third-stage larvae to produce the next generation of third-stage larvae appears to be from 33 to 37 days.

Internal autoinfection is believed to play a role in maintining these infections and may lead to the clinical signs when they are observed. Wittmann (1982) has shown that if cats are fed adult males and females that the numer of adults present at necropsy will be greated than the number of worms feed to the cat. The large numbers of worms found in single cats, such as one reported by Collins and Charleston (1972) which harbored around 4,500 worms, is best explained by the build up of large numbers of worms through internal autoinfection. Hasslinger and Trah (1981) found that cats harbored an averafe of 1,500 worms and that a single cat harbored 11,028 worms.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION AND PATHOGENESIS: Cats infected with Ollularnustricuspis generally have a history of chronic vomiting (Cameron, 1932; Greve, 1981). Hänichen and Hasslinger (1977) reported on a Persian cat that died due to chronic gastritis caused by Ollulanustricuspis. This cat was three years old and had been imported from England about a year previously. The cat lived in a household with ten other pets. The cat became anorexic, but continued to drink milk. Prior to death, the cat was dehydrated with a subnormal temperature. Linde-Sipman et al. (1992) reported on three cases of chronic infections in cats that resulted in two of the cats being euthanatized due to their wasted condition and chronic vomiting, while the third cat died shortly after the appearance of blood in its vomit and feces. Necropsies revealed stomachs with signs of chronic inflammation very similar to that reported by Hanichen and Hasslinger.

The infection is capable of causing chronic gastritis in infected cats (Fig 4-14). Cameron (1932) examined the pathogenicity of Ollulanustricuspis in cats and felt that the worms caused only moderate local erosion of the gastric mucosa and increased mucus secretion. In other cases the pathologic changes are more severe, and lesions include hyperplasia of the stomach epithelium, inflammation, cellular infiltration, and sclerosis of the epithelium (Hänichen and Hasslinger, 1977). The worms are found under a layer of mucus or partially embedded, head-first into gastric glands (Hargis et al., 1983b). In stomachs of infected cats, there is a significant increase in mucosal fibrous tissue and mucosal lymphoid aggregates (Hargis et al., 1983b). Also, the lymphoid aggregates tend to have large germinal centers. There is also an increase in the globule leukocytes, and some cats may have over 100 globule leukocytes per high power filed.

TREATMENT: It has been reported that tetramisole (a 2.5% formulation administered at 5 mg/kg body weight) has proved efficacious and without side effects (Hasslinger, 1984).

EPIZOOTIOLOGY: The cats most likely to be infected are feral cats and colongy-reared cats (Hargis et al., 1981a and 1983a). The high prevalence in colony cats is probably due to the concentration of cats in a single area that increases the opportunities for the ingestion of vomitus from another animal that includes the infective stages. As state above, the infective stages are capable of living in vomitus for up to 12 days.

HAZARDS TO OTHER ANIMALS:Ollulanustricuspis has been reported from other feline hosts including lions, cheetahs, and tigers (Hasslinger, 1985). It has also been found to infect dogs (Himonas, 1968) and foxes (Hinaidy, 1976). It has also been reported from pigs on several occasions (Kotlan and von Mocsy, 1933; Stockdale and Lautenslager, 1973); but some consider the species in swine to be Ollulanussuis, another species within theis genus (Kazello , 1972). Similarly, it is believed that the lion is host to Ollulanusskrjabini, a species specific to the lion (Burdelev, 1950), but others consider it a synonym of Ollulanustricuspis (Hasslinger and Wittman, 1982). Thus, it would seem that infected cats could easily serve as a source of infection for any other felines and perhaps dogs with which they are housed.

HAZARD TO HUMANS: There have been no human infecteions with this parasite reported.

CONTROL/PREVENTION: In catteries, it is important to watch for signs of increase vomiting, and if this does occur, cat vomitus should be checked for the presence of these worms.


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Figure 4-13. Ollulanustricuspis. Mucosal surface of a cat’s stomach showing with a lesion containing numberous adults of this species.

Figure 4-14. Ollulanustricuspis. Section of the stomach mucosa showing an adult worm within the mucosa.

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