A study was undertaken between 1 January 2006 and 16 February 2007 to identify haemoparasites and gastrointestinal parasites infecting African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, South Africa. Blood and faecal samples were opportunistically collected from wild dogs immobilized for collaring or translocation purposes (n = 24). Three common domestic canine gastrointestinal parasites, Toxocara canis, Dipylidium caninum and Ancylostoma spp., and two genera of canid protozoan GI parasites, Sarcocystis and Isospora, were identified in 12 fresh faecal samples. The seroprevalence of Ehrlichia canis from 24 individual serum samples analysed was 83%. However, only 21% of the 14 whole-blood smears evaluated for the presence of E. canis morulae within monocytes were positive. Twelve whole-blood smears were evaluated for the presence of Babesia canis trophozoites within erythrocytes and revealed 0% prevalence. Although there is currently no evidence of direct parasite-related mortality in the KZN population, the presence of internal parasites may be more detrimental to the overall health status of African wild dogs with immunosuppression as a result of other disease conditions, translocation stress, or inbreeding depression.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2