Intestinal Parasites in Free-Living Puma concolor


  • Marco Aurélio Cunha Del Vechio Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal com Ênfase em Produtos Bioativos, Universidade Paranaense (UNIPAR), Umuarama, PR, Brazil.
  • Edson Gerônimo Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal com Ênfase em Produtos Bioativos, Universidade Paranaense (UNIPAR), Umuarama, PR, Brazil.
  • Enzo Emmerich Paula De Castro Universidade Estadual Paulista - Botucatu
  • Luciana Vieira Pinto Ribeiro Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal com Ênfase em Produtos Bioativos, Universidade Paranaense (UNIPAR), Umuarama, PR, Brazil.
  • Rita De Cássia Lima Ribeiro Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal com Ênfase em Produtos Bioativos, Universidade Paranaense (UNIPAR), Umuarama, PR, Brazil.
  • Reinaldo José Da Silva Universidade Estadual Paulista - Botucatu
  • Daniela Dib Gonçalves Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal com Ênfase em Produtos Bioativos, Universidade Paranaense (UNIPAR), Umuarama, PR, Brazil.
  • Lidiane Nunes Barbosa Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal com Ênfase em Produtos Bioativos, Universidade Paranaense (UNIPAR), Umuarama, PR, Brazil.



Background: Studies on intestinal parasites in cougars Puma concolor are scarce, and most of the available information on the species has been derived from individuals in captivity. One of the greatest threats to the survival of wild cats is habitat loss caused by urban sprawl, agricultural matrix, and linear developments such as highways and railways, which expose animals to direct contact with humans and to a high risk of death. Given the lack of scientific data the objective of this study was to report on the occurrence of intestinal parasites in a cougar (P. concolor) specimen from the northwestern region of Paraná State, Brazil.

Case: The carcass of a free-living cougar (P. concolor) individual was sent to the Interdisciplinary Science Museum (Museu Interdisciplinar de Ciências – MIC) of Paranaense University (Universidade Paranaense - UNIPAR); an individual was killed during a collision with an unidentified vehicle on highway PR-486, in the municipality of Mariluz (PR, Brazil). The geographical coordinates of the location where the animal was found are: 23°59′29″S, 53°8′47″W. This region is characterized by semi-deciduous seasonal forest remnants. After being identified on site and collected by the inspectors of the Paraná Environmental Institute (Instituto Ambiental do Paraná - IAP), the cadaver was donated to the MIC (by the IAP) for a necropsy to elucidate the cause of death. In this context, the cadaver was sent to the Animal Pathology section of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at UNIPAR. The animal was necropsied by performing the standard necropsy technique for carnivores: opening the intestine through the mesentery and exposing the mucosa from the duodenum to the colon. The necropsy showed that the cause of death was hypovolemic shock due to trauma. During necropsy, parasites in the intestinal lumen were visible to the naked eye. Parasites and feces were collected and stored in sterile flasks containing 10% formaldehyde and saline. The parasites were subjected to Faust and Hoffman techniques, micrometry, and morphological analysis, resulting in the identification of the roundworm Toxocara cati and the tapeworm Spirometra decipiens.

Discussion: Identifying the roadkill species along highways is of paramount importance, since they are living very close to man and, consequently, reservoirs and disseminators of different infectious and parasitic zoonoses may be possible. Infection by protozoa and helminths in animals usually occurs by ingesting the infective form present in food or water. Toxocara cati and the tapeworm Spirometra decipiens were only reported in captivity before. Research on parasites in free-living wild animals is not common in the scientific literature and this is due to the difficulty of capturing this animal category as they live in difficult to access places such as forests and forests, therefore, research projects in partnership with museums are extremely important for the recognition of wild animal species that circulate in the region, in addition to the parasitic identification of these animals for future sanitary measures and for the preservation of the animal species in the environment. The Parasitological studies of wild animals are highly relevant for expanding this knowledge, especially considering the possible transfer risk of specific parasitic diseases to other animals, as well as to humans.


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How to Cite

Cunha Del Vechio, M. A., Gerônimo, E., De Castro, E. E. P., Pinto Ribeiro, L. V., Lima Ribeiro, R. D. C., Da Silva, R. J., Gonçalves, D. D., & Barbosa, L. N. (2020). Intestinal Parasites in Free-Living Puma concolor. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 48.

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