Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Two pregnant llamas (Lama glama) infected with Toxoplasma gondii, and their offspring were evaluated clinically and serologically. Llama 1 was inoculated orally with 1,000 infective oocysts of the P89 strain of T. gondii at 82 days of gestation (DOG). Llama 2 became naturally infected with T. gondii between 26 and 119 DOG. Both llamas remained clinically normal and delivered healthy offspring. Sera collected from both llamas during pregnancy and from their offspring before and after colostral ingestion were evaluated for antibodies to T. gondii by the modified agglutination test (MAT), latex agglutination test (LAT), indirect hemagglutination test (IHAT), and the Sabin-Feldman dye test (DT). In llama 1, MAT antibody titers were <1:20, 1:320, 1:1,280, 1:640, and 1:80 at 82, 97 109, 132, and 152 DOG, respectively. The MAT titers in naturally infected llama 2 were <1:32, 1:320-1:640, and 1:1,280 at 26, 119-200, and 346 DOG, respectively. In both llamas, antibody titers in the DT were of similar magnitude as the MAT, but titers in the LAT and IHAT were inconsistent. Antibodies to T. gondii were not detected in precolostral sera obtained from offspring of both llamas suggesting there was no fetal T. gondii infection.
Technical Abstract: Infections with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii are widely prevalent in man and animals. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in congenitally infected children and abortion in livestock. Little is known of causes of abortion in wild large animals including llamas. The numbers of llamas are growing in the U.S. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the Iowa State University experimentally infected 2 pregnant llamas with T. gondii and found that it did not cause abortion in them. Both llamas had high antibody titers. The data will be useful in diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in llamas and will be of interest to veterinarians and wildlife biologists.