Gastrointestinal parasites and their prevalence in the Arabian red fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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The gastrointestinal parasites and prevalence of infestation in the Arabian red fox Vulpesvulpes arabica Thomas, were investigated at the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre(KKWRC) in Thumamah, Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. Faecal samples were collected from58 wild caught foxes while under anaesthesia and examined for gastrointestinal parasites
stages. Male and female foxes were infected with three major groups of parasites; cestodes,nematodes, protozoa as well as an acanthocephalan. Faecal analyses revealed that 22 foxes (37.9%) were infected with two different Isospora spp. and three (5.2%) with anundescribed Eimeria sp., 12 (20.7%). Nine individuals (15.5%) harboured hookworms, (Trichosomoides
sp.), two (3.5%) were infected with Trichuris sp. (probably Trichuris vulpes)and one individual (1.7%) with Taenia sp. (probably Taenia hydatigena). Carcasses of five male and three female foxes were necropsied. Four of the necropsied carcasses yielded Ancylostoma caninum, two each harboured Pterygodermatitis affinis, T. vulpes and Macracanthorhynchus catalinus, in six foxes Joyeuxiella echinorynchoides was found. Five and four
foxes were infected with T. hydatigena and Diplopylidium nölleri, respectively. The possiblerole of the Arabian red fox as an intercalary host essential for the life cycle of Trichosomoidessp., common to the Libyan jird, Meriones libycus, in particular and the importance of thisspecies as a vector for zoonotic infections and in the spread of other parasites to wild and
domestic animals in general is discussed

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