Morphological and molecular characterization of a species of Tetratrichomonas present in feces of Brazilian sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus)

  • Caroline Cunha Carreiro
  • Douglas McIntoshEmail author
  • Daniele Juliano dos Santos
  • Samara de Paula Lopes
  • Vera Lúcia Teixeira de Jesus
Protozoology - Original Paper


The trichomonads form part of the phylum Parabasalia, a complex assemblage of diverse species of flagellated protists, with some members recognized as pathogens of men and/or animals. Associations, probably as commensals, between the species Tetratrichomonas ovis and sheep were reported in North America during the 1960s based on morphological and cultural characteristics. Intriguingly, no subsequent studies of this topic have been published. Feces, collected from sheep (n = 55) and goats (n = 14), reared on small-scale, production facilities in Southeastern Brazil, were examined for parabasalids. Protozoa, demonstrating morphologies and motility characteristic of trichomonads, were detected by direct microscopy in 64% of sheep and 43% of goat samples. In contrast to T. ovis, none of the samples could be cultured in Diamond’s medium; however, cultures were obtained for three goat and seventeen sheep samples in peptonized broth. Based on morphological analyses, all isolates were classified as members of the genus Tetratrichomonas. Sequencing of the ITS1-5.8S rRNA gene-ITS2 region revealed three highly similar genotypes that were essentially identical to sequences reported for Tetratrichomonas spp. isolated from the preputial cavity of cattle in the USA and Southern Brazil. The findings of this study extend and enhance our knowledge of parasitism in small ruminants by parabasalids.


Parabasalia Small ruminants PCR Morphometric analysis 



The authors would like to acknowledge the generosity of the farm owners for providing access to their animals and informed consent for fecal sampling, especially to veterinarian Daniel Marchesi Neves. We also thank undergraduate student Cezar Augusto da Silva and Professor Carlos Wilson Gomes Lopes (UFRRJ) for their attention and assistance in preparing this manuscript.

Funding information

The research reported in this article was financially supported in part by funding from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

Compliance with ethical standards

All aspects of the study involving animals were conducted in strict accordance with the recommendations established by the Ethics committee of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro Federal Rural, under the conditions outlined in the license (CEUA/IV/UFRRJ no. 2614120717). We declare that the animals were not harmed in any way during the experimental procedures.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

436_2019_6466_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 28 kb)
436_2019_6466_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (30 kb)
Table S2 (PDF 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Medicina Veterinária, Instituto de Veterinária (IV)Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ)SeropédicaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Parasitologia Animal, IVUFRRJSeropédicaBrazil
  3. 3.Graduação em Medicina Veterinária, Instituto de Veterinária (IV)Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ)SeropédicaBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Avaliação e Reprodução Animal, Instituto de ZootecniaUFRRJSeropédicaBrazil

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