Souza, V. K. de, Dall’Agnol, B., Souza, U. A., Webster, A., Peters, F. B., Favarini, M. O., Mazim, F. D., Rocha, F. L. da, Tirelli, F. P., Soares, J. F., Jardim, M. M. de A., Trigo, T. C., & Reck, J. (2019). Detection of Rangelia vitalii (Piroplasmida: Babesiidae) in asymptomatic free-ranging wild canids from the Pampa biome, Brazil. Parasitology Research, 118(4), 1337–1342.
Canine rangeliosis is a tick-borne disease caused by the protozoan Rangelia vitalii, which has only been reported in South America. With this knowledge, we hypothesized that neotropical foxes could act as asymptomatic natural carriers of R. vitalii. To test this, we captured 44 free-ranging foxes and investigated the presence of R. vitalii DNA, and whether the infected animals presented any clinical findings or hematological changes. Eight foxes (18%), seven Cerdocyon thous (7/27–25%), and one Lycalopex gymnocercus (1/17–5%) were positive for R. vitalii. All foxes were clinically healthy and showed no hematological abnormalities. Thus, we propose that neotropical canids, particularly C. thous, could be the natural carriers of R. vitalii.