Background: Despite the increasing number of reports of autochthonous cases of ocular thelaziosis in dogs in several European countries, and the evident emergence of human cases, the distribution and spreading potential of this parasite is far for being fully known. In Romania, despite intensive surveillance performed over recent years on the typical hosts of T. callipaeda, the parasite has not been found until now.
Methods: In October 2014 a German Shepherd was presented for consultation to a private veterinary practice from western Romania with a history of unilateral chronic conjunctivitis. Following a close examination of the affected eye, nematodes were noticed in the conjunctival sac. The specimens collected were used for morphological examination (light microscopy) and molecular analysis (amplification of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene, followed by sequencing).
Results: Thirteen nematodes were collected, all identified morphologically as T. callipaeda. The history of the dog revealed no travel outside Romania, and during the last year, not even outside the home locality. The BLAST analysis of our sequence showed a 100% similarity T. callipaeda haplotype h1.
Conclusions: This is the first report of T. callipaeda in Romania, which we consider to be with autochthonous transmission. These findings confirm the spreading trend of T callipaeda and the increased risk of emerging vector-borne zoonoses.