During the quarantine examination of four Pallas's cats (Otocolobus manul) imported from Mongolia in October and December 2000, intraerythrocytic piroplasms were detected on Wright-Giemsa stained blood films that were morphologically indistinguishable from other small piroplasms of felids. Further characterization of this unknown organism via polymerase chain reaction amplification, sequencing of a portion of the 18S nuclear small subunit rRNA gene, and comparisons with orthologous sequences from other piroplasms, revealed similarity to Cytauxzoon felis. This is the first report of naturally occurring erythroparasitemia in Pallas's cats and the first documented case of naturally occurring piroplasm infections in a free-ranging felid from Mongolia.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2