Introduction and objective:
Systemic toxoplasmosis with tissue-spread parasites occurring in intermediate hosts may also occur in immunocompromised cats (e.g., infected with FLV or FIV). To the best of our knowledge, no reports have been published on the detection and genotyping of T. gondii DNA in cats with extraintestinal toxoplasmosis in Poland. The article describes the case of the sudden death of 3 out of 4 cats in a cattery, and the detection and molecular characterization of T. gondii DNA detected in the tissues of one of the dead cats.

Material and methods:
Samples of brain, lungs, heart, and liver of the cat that died suddenly were examined for the presence of T. gondii DNA (B1 gene) by nested PCR and real-time PCR. DNA positive samples were also genotyped at 12 genetic markers using multiplex multilocus nested PCR-RFLP (Mn-PCR-RFLP) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST).

A total of 9 out of the 20 DNA samples were successfully amplified with nested and/or Real-time PCR. DNA from 3 out of 5 types of tested samples were genotyped (brain, heart and muscle). Mn-PCR-RFLP and MLST results revealed type II (and II/III at SAG1) alleles at almost all loci, except a clonal type I allele at the APICO locus. This profile corresponds to the ToxoDB#3 genotype, commonly identified amongst cats in Central Europe.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study describing the genetic characteristics of T. gondii population determined in a cat in Poland. These data confirm the importance of this host as a reservoir for this pathogen, and demonstrate the genotypic variation of this parasite. Veterinarians should take into account that cats may develop disseminated toxoplasmosis, and that it is a systemic disease which may lead to the death of the cat, and to transmission of the pathogen to other domestic animals and to humans.

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