Gurltiaparalysans Wolffhügel, 1933

(Figures 4-23 through 4-26)

In 1933, Dr. Kurt Wolffhügel erected a new genus, Gurltia, and species, paralysans, to contain a worm causing paralysis in a cat in Chile that was named after Dr. Ernst Friedrich Gurlt. In this paper several cases of paraparesis in cats casued by this worms are described. Signs are presented as Wolffhügule believed that the natural host of this parasite was the small wild cat, Felisguigna.

The worms as described by Wolffhügel had females that were 20 to 23 mm long with a maximum width of about 0.15 mm. The vulva is posterior near the anus. The males are about half as long and wide as the females and have a distint bursa. The eggs passed by the femal are about 60 m long and about 45 m wide. The eggs are undeveloped when laid, but in the blood are found eggs containing 16-celled embryos. Wolffhüggel was unable to find any larvae in the blood or feces of the feline host.

In 1993, a cat was presented to the clinic at Cornell that ultimatley died with serious neurologic signs following progressive hind limb weakness leading to toal fecal and urinary incontinence. At necropsy, a lesion was seen in the spinal cord with extensive hemorrhage between L3 and L6 (Fig 4-23). The lesion contained contained a metastongyle which appears to have characters consistent with Gurltiaparalysans (Fig 4-24 to 4-25). Unfortunately, the lack of a male in the material teased from the lesion made it impossible to verify the identity of these worms (Fig 4-26).


Wolffhügel K. 1933. Paraplegia cruralis parasitaria felis, causada por Gurltiaparalysans nov. gen., n. Sp. (nematodes). Rev Chilena Hist Nat 37:190-192.

Wolffhügel K. 1934. Paraplegia cruralis parasitaria durch Gurltiaparalysans nov. gen. nov. sp (Nematoda). Ztsch Infektionskr Haustiere 48:28-47.

Figure 4-23. Gurltia paralysans? Spinal cord of a cat that presented with signs of paralysis.

Figure 4-24. Gurltia paralysans? Worm removed by Dr. M. Georgi from the lesion depicted in section 4-22.

Figure 4-25. Gurltia paralysans? Section through lesion showing mature adult female worm.

Figure 4-26. Gurltia paralysans? Section through lesion in spinal cord showing eggs in various stages of embryonation.