Population dynamics of Toxocara canis in pigs receiving a single or multiple infection

K. Taira, I. Saeed, Peter Lind, K.D. Murrell, C.M.O. Kapel

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The population dynamics of Toxocara canis in pigs, and their immune response to a primary and a challenge infection, were studied by parasitological, haematological and serological parameters. Seventy pigs were divided into 4 groups; 35 pigs received a primary infection (group A), 15 pigs received both a primary and a challenge infection (group B), 15 pigs received the challenge infection only (group C), and 5 pigs served as helminth-free controls (group NC). A dose of 50000 eggs was administered for the primary infection (day 0) and a dose of 10000 eggs was given for the challenge infection (day 28). On days 7, 14, 21 and 28 p.i., 5 pigs of group A, and on days 35, 42 and 49 p.i., 5 pigs from each of groups A, B and C were necropsied. Numbers of recovered larvae varied widely among the 5 pigs of each group on all days of necropsy. Toxocara canis larvae were recovered predominantly from the lungs; migration of larvae to other organs or tissues from the lungs was restricted. In group A, the larval burden in the lungs peaked on day 14 p.i., and the larval densities decreased significantly over time. Thereafter, the majority of larvae were recovered from the lungs until the end of the experiment (day 49 p.i.). A few larvae were found in the muscles and brain until day 42 p.i., and 2 larvae were found in the eyes of 2 pigs on day 35 p.i. There was little evidence of protective immurory to a challenge infection in this experiment. The eosinophil levels tended not to increase in pigs receiving a challenge infection, in contrast to the challenge control pigs. The fact that T. canis larvae migrate and persist in the tissues of pigs for more than 1 month suggests a zoonotic risk in infected pigs. The relevance of these data to the population biology and immunology of porcine and human toxocarosis is discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)593-602
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • larva migrans
    • challenge
    • zoonoses
    • Toxocara canis
    • population dynamics
    • pig


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