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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

versión On-line ISSN 2224-9435
versión impresa ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.80 no.4 Pretoria  2009




Hepatic capillariasis in a Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inaurus)



K H ErlwangerI; B A De WittI; L G FickI; R S HetemI; L C R MeyerI; D MitchellI; W A WilsonII; B MitchellIII

IBrain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, 7 York Rd, Parktown, 2193 South Africa
IIDepartment of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
IIIDiagnostic Medlab, PO Box 14743, Panmure, Auckland 1741, New Zealand




We report, for the first time, an incidental finding of Calodium hepaticum infestation in a sub-adult female Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inaurus). Post mortem examination of the squirrel revealed severe haemoperitoneum, splenomegaly and hepatomegaly with miliary white spots distributed diffusely throughout the hepatic parenchyma. Histologically the portal tracts in the liver showed granulomatous inflammation with fibrosis and numerous giant cells. Occasional adult worms were identified and there were multiple C. hepaticum eggs distributed diffusely throughout the portal tracts and the parenchyma. The spleen also contained C. hepaticum eggs. The genus Rattus is the primary host and reservoir of C. hepaticum, but C. hepaticum infections have been reported previously in other Sciuridae. Based on our findings, people should be cautious of the zoonotic potential of C. hepaticum, when they come into contact with the Cape ground squirrel.

Keywords: Calodium hepaticum, Cape ground squirrel, capillariasis



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Received: September 2009
Accepted: December 2009



* Author for correspondence. E-mail:

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