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Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research

versión On-line ISSN 2219-0635

Resumen

LA GRANGE, Louis J  y  MUKARATIRWA, Samson. Distribution patterns and predilection muscles of Trichinella zimbabwensis larvae in experimentally infected Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus Laurenti). Onderstepoort j. vet. res. [online]. 2014, vol.81, n.1, pp. 01-07. ISSN 2219-0635.

No controlled studies have been conducted to determine the predilection muscles of Trichinella zimbabwensis larvae in Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) or the influence of infection intensity on the distribution of the larvae in crocodiles. The distribution of larvae in muscles of naturally infected Nile crocodiles and experimentally infected caimans (Caiman crocodilus) and varans (Varanus exanthematicus) have been reported in literature. To determine the distribution patterns of T. zimbabwensis larvae and predilection muscles, 15 crocodiles were randomly divided into three cohorts of five animals each, representing high infection (642 larvae/kg of bodyweight average), medium infection (414 larvae/kg of bodyweight average) and low infection (134 larvae/kg of bodyweight average) cohorts. In the high infection cohort, high percentages of larvae were observed in the triceps muscles (26%) and hind limb muscles (13%). In the medium infection cohort, high percentages of larvae were found in the triceps muscles (50%), sternomastoid (18%) and hind limb muscles (13%). In the low infection cohort, larvae were mainly found in the intercostal muscles (36%), longissimus complex (27%), forelimb muscles (20%) and hind limb muscles (10%). Predilection muscles in the high and medium infection cohorts were similar to those reported in naturally infected crocodiles despite changes in infection intensity. The high infection cohort had significantly higher numbers of larvae in the sternomastoid, triceps, intercostal, longissimus complex, external tibial flexor, longissimus caudalis and caudal femoral muscles (p < 0.05) compared with the medium infection cohort. In comparison with the low infection cohort, the high infection cohort harboured significantly higher numbers of larvae in all muscles (p < 0.05) except for the tongue. The high infection cohort harboured significantly higher numbers of larvae (p < 0.05) in the sternomastoid, triceps, intercostal, longissimus complex, external tibial flexor, longissimus caudalis and caudal femoral muscles compared with naturally infected crocodiles. Results from this study show that, in Nile crocodiles, larvae of T. zimbabwensis appear first to invade predilection muscles closest to their release site in the small intestine before occupying those muscles situated further away. The recommendation for the use of masseter, pterygoid and intercostal muscles as sampling sites for the detection of T. zimbabwensis in crocodiles is in contrast to the results from this study, where the fore- and hind limb muscles had the highest number of larvae. This study also supports the use of biopsy sampling from the dorso-lateral regions of the tail for surveillance purposes in both wild and commercial crocodile populations.

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