Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thelaziidae) infects the eyes of humans and rabbits as well of domestic and wild carnivores (i.e., dogs, cats, and foxes). The first three cases of infection by T. callipaeda eyeworms in wolves (Canis lupus) are here described with up to 96 nematodes collected from a single animal. The host competence of wolf was demonstrated by the retrieval of adult worms in the eyes of all examined animals. All nematodes collected were evaluated by morphologic and molecular techniques. Sequence analysis of the partial mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (cox1) confirmed that only one haplotype of T. callipaeda was present. The competence of wolves as a definitive host for T. callipaeda is discussed in view of the relevance of wild fauna in maintaining and spreading eyeworm infection in humans and domestic animals.
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Vol. 43 • No. 3