Domenico Otranto BVetMed, PhD, DipEVPC is Professor in Veterinary Parasitology at the University of Bari (Italy). He was recipient of the "Peter Nansen" International award of the WAAVP and of an International award of the "Lincei Academy". He is Editor in Chief of Medical and Veterinary Entomology, advisor editor of Parasites and Vectors and member of the editorial board of several international journals. His research experience mostly focuses on vector borne diseases of zoonotic concern. His scientific output to date consists of > 350 peer-reviewed scientific articles in international journals, numerous book chapters and two books in the field.
Domenico Otranto (email@example.com - Tel./fax: +39 080 4679839)
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Universit? degli Studi di Bari, 70010 Valenzano, Italy
Is it still possible to discover new parasites of dogs and cats? Do we really know enough about them? To what extent do limitations in the diagnosis of dog and cat parasites represent an obstacle for a deeper understanding of their biology? Diagnosis in parasitology has a deep impact on animal health and welfare and, in some cases, public health. Although, over the last few years, advances in the diagnosis of parasitic diseases have largely paralleled knowledge of their biology, gaps in the diagnosis of cat and dog parasites still exist. For instance, difficulties in obtaining samples for research purposes (due to ethical issues or to the invasive nature of the sampling procedures), inaccurate sample storage and poor sensitivity of the commonly used techniques, may represent major obstacles in diagnosing parasitic diseases. Other hurdles are often associated with the biology of parasites (e.g., the intermittent presence in blood of tick-borne pathogens) or, simply, through the fact that some parasites of pets are largely ignored by the scientific community. This lecture will provide key examples of parasites of dogs and cats, which are currently considered of minor importance, also because of the limitations in their diagnosis. Among them, new or, in some cases, previously “misdiagnosed parasites” with overlapping morphological features, biology or ecology, represent a major challenge when trying to correctly diagnose “unknown parasites” (for which only occasional reports are available). Further research is needed in order to provide the scientific community with more reliable, cost-effective diagnostic tools, which ultimately, will assist our understanding of some mis- or less-diagnosed parasitoses.