Submitted to: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 26, 2006
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Citation: Trout, J.M., Santin, M., Fayer, R. 2006. Giardia and Cryptosporidium Species and Genotypes in Coyotes (Canis latrans). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 37(2):141-144.
Interpretive Summary: There have been previous studies that have attempted to assess the role of wildlife in the possible transmission of Cryptosporidium and Giardia to humans and domestic animals. Many of these studies, however, pre-date the use of molecular analysis techniques and therefore could not differentiate between parasites that infect only one species of animal and those that have the potential to infect many different animals, including humans. Thus, the older literature is of little value in understanding if wildlife species represent a reservoir of parasites infectious for domestic animals and humans, and wildlife species need to be re-examined using these new molecular tools. The increasing coyote population in the eastern U.S. provides more opportunity for interaction with humans, companion animals, and livestock. This study examined coyotes fecal samples for the presence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia and use molecular diagnostic techniques to determine if the parasites that were present had the potential to infect humans or domestic animals.
Feces and duodenal scrapings were collected from 22 coyotes (Canis latrans) killed in managed hunts in northeastern Pennsylvania. PCR methods were used to detect Giardia and Cryptosporidium. PCR amplified fragments of the Giardia and Cryptosporidium SSU-rRNA genes were subjected to DNA sequence analysis for species/genotype determination. Seven coyotes (32%) were positive for G. duodenalis; 3 Assemblage C, 3 Assemblage D, and 1 Assemblage B. Six coyotes (27%) were positive for Cryptosporidium. One isolate shared 99.7% homology with C. muris, whereas five others (23%) shared 100% homology with C. canis, coyote genotype. This is the first report on multiple genotypes of Giardia in coyotes and on the prevalence of Cryptosporidium genotypes in coyotes.