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Browsing by Author "Remes, Heidi"

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  • Remes, Heidi (2021)
    The aim of this study was to investigate the intestinal parasite prevalence in the animals living in the Cat valley of Helsinki Zoo. The initiative for the study came from the Zoo, as the knowledge on intestinal parasite prevalence of zoo animals is fairly limited. A study on soil contamination with parasite eggs and oocyst of selected enclosures was added, as suspicions arose that the flooring might be a possible source of reinfection. Some possible parasite control methods are discussed, and how they could be used in a zoo environment. The hypothesis of this prevalence study was that the faecal samples might contain Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina eggs. The hypothesis was based on the previous findings in Helsinki zoo as well as findings in other zoos and wild animals abroad. Clinical signs had not been detected from the animals that were studied in Helsinki zoo, and intestinal parasites of big cats have not been a major problem for this particular zoo. For the study, faecal samples from the animals in Cat valley were collected and studied monthly from late May until October 2016, for a period of approximately half a year. Faecal samples from eight different animal species from 13 different enclosures were studied. The species studied included amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), red panda (Ailurus fulgens), snow leopard (Panthera uncia), amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis), pallas cat (Otocolobus manul), Asian lions (Panthera leo persica), European lynx (Lynx lynx) and European Wild Cats (Felis silvestris silvestris). A total of 78 faecal samples was collected, of which 18 were found to be positive for parasite eggs. The faecal samples were studied with a modified MacMaster method. Additionally, soil samples from five different enclosures were studied by using modified centrifugation-flotation method. Most common finding were those of Toxascaris leonina (6 samples), followed by Toxocara cati (4 samples). Other findings included for example oocysts of coccidia and Strongyle type eggs, which were quite possibly from the herbivores that were used as food for the cats. The soil samples were found to contain Toxascaris leonina eggs with a larva inside, oocysts of coccidia, as well as one developing Toxocara cati egg. Based on the findings on both the faecal samples as well as soil samples, Helsinki zoo did not have major problem with intestinal parasites at the time of the study, but the soil flooring of the enclosures might act as a source of reinfection and maintain the parasites transmission cycle. (The thesis was written in English, as the student completed her matriculation examination in English (International Baccalaureate Diploma programme). The subject of the study might also be of interest in zoos abroad.)