Submitted to: Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2009
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Citation: Dubey, J.P. 2009. The evolution of the knowledge of cat and dog coccidia. Parasitology. 136:1469-1475.
Interpretive Summary: Coccidia are single celled parasites of livestock and humans.Toxoplasma gondii is also a coccidian parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. This paper summarizes information on the discovery of all cat and dog coccidia. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians
Before the discovery of Toxoplasma gondii as a coccidium of the cat in 1970, cat and dog coccidia were classified in the genus Isospora and considered of little clinical or zoonotic significance. Since 1970, several new (Hammondia sp., Neospora sp.) and previously described species, including Sarcocystis, Besnoitia, and Cryptosporidium have been found as coccidians of cats and dogs with clinical and zoonotic significance. In the present paper I review salient features of the evolution of cat and dog coccidia.