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Clinical leishmaniosis in a captive Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in Spain: A case report

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Background: Captive and free-ranging wild mammals have been recognized as potential reservoirs of Leishmania infantum infection. The aim of this study was to describe the first clinical case of leishmaniosis in the Eurasian otter. Case presentation: A case of clinical leishmaniosis is reported in a 4-year-old male Eurasian otter housed at a wildlife park (Murcia, South Eastern Spain). The Eurasian otter showed bilateral epistaxis, anorexia, apathy, and weight loss. A complete blood cell count and biochemical analyses revealed hyperproteinemia, hyperglobulinemia, decreases of paraoxonase-1, increases of haptoglobin and ferritin, and proteinuria. Bilateral nephropathy with hydronephrosis, mesenteric lymphadenomegaly, and ascites were also observed. L. infantum infection was confirmed by microscopy (amastigotes were detected in macrophages from spleen aspirate), molecular diagnosis (L. infantum DNA was detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction), and serology (anti-Leishmania IgG2 antibodies were detected by time-resolved immunofluorometry). The animal was treated with allopurinol for 3 months and gained weight, the epistaxis disappeared, and the ferritin concentration decreased. Conclusions: This is the first report of clinical leishmaniosis in the Eurasian otter. Our results suggest that Eurasian otters are susceptible to infection with L. infantum and can develop clinical leishmaniosis in endemic areas.




Cantos-Barreda, A., Navarro, R., Pardo-Marín, L., Martínez-Subiela, S., Ortega, E., Cerón, J. J., … Escribano, D. (2020). Clinical leishmaniosis in a captive Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in Spain: A case report. BMC Veterinary Research, 16(1).

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