ISSN 2398-2969      

Sarcocystosis

Clapis

Synonym(s): Sarcocystiosis, sarcosporidiosis, rice-breast disease


Introduction

  • CauseSarcocystis cuniculi.
  • Signs: lameness.
  • Diagnosis: muscle cysts typically found at post-mortem examination.
  • Treatment: none required.
  • Prognosis: excellent.

Presenting signs

  • Lagomorphs act as intermediate hosts for this parasite; the cat is the definitive host.
  • In intermediate hosts, pathogenic Sarcocystisspp can cause acute disease during the early phase of infection and chronic disease during the late phase of infection.
  • Little is known about the mechanisms underlying pathogenicity.
  • The severity of clinical signs is thought to depend on the dose of ingested sporocysts and the immune status of the host.
  • There are no clinical signs that are specific for sarcocystosis.
  • Heavily affected animals may demonstrate lameness.
  • One study asserts that sarcocysts can destroy muscle fibers and cause pressure atrophy of adjacent cells.

Acute presentation

  • Not reported in the rabbit.
  • If seen, may include lameness resulting from muscle damage.

Geographic incidence

  •  Sarcocystishas a worldwide distribution and is found in many species, including rabbits, sheep, cattle, horses, swine, dogs, cats, mice, chickens and humans.
  •  Sarcocystis cuniculi  Sarcocystis cuniculi  has been reported in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Age predisposition

  • Not really known.
  • On study reported a higher infection rate in adult Cottontail   Cottontail  rabbits (69.3%) than in juveniles (20.7%).

Breed predisposition

  • Not known.
  • Documented in the European rabbit ( Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Eastern Cottontail   Cottontail   rabbit ( Sylvilagus floridanus).

Public Health considerations

  • Sarcocystosis does not present a human health risk as properly cooked meat containing this parasite is considered safe for human consumption.
  • Domestic animals, including the rabbit, may be condemned as unfit for human consumption, however, if the meat is heavily and visibly parasitized.
  • Wild rabbits are more likely to be heavily infected and therefore unsuitable for human consumption.
  • The lesions observed over the breast muscles, particularly in waterfowl, have given rise to the popular name of rice breast disease amongst hunters.

Cost considerations

  • None reported although carcass condemnations may, in theory, have an economic cost.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Tenter A M (1995) Current research on Sarcocystis species of domestic animals. Int J Parasitol 25 (11), 1311-1330 PubMed.
  • McKenna P B & Charleston W A (1992) The survival of Sarcocystis gigantea sporocysts following exposure to various chemical and physical agents. Vet Parasitol 45 (1-2), 1-16 PubMed.
  • Elwasila M, Entzeroth R, Chobotar B et al (1984) Comparison of the structure of Sarcocystis cuniculi of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Sarcocystis leporum of the cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) by light and electron microscopy. Acta Vet Hung 32 (1-2), 71-78 PubMed.
  • Cosgrove M, Wiggin J P & Rothenbacher H (1982) Sarcocystis species in the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). J Wild Dis 18 (1), 37-40 PubMed.
  • Cerná Z, Loucková M, Nedvĕdová H et al (1981) Spontaneous and experimental infection of domestic rabbits by Sarcocystis cuniculi Brumpt, 1913. Folia Parisitol (Praha) 28 (4), 313-318 PubMed.
  • McKenna P B & Charleston W A (1980) Coccidia (Protozoa:Sporozoasida) of cats and dogs. I. Identity and prevalence in cats. New Zealand Vet J 28 (5), 86-88 PubMed.
  • Collins G H & Charleston W A (1979) Studies on Sarcocystis species II. Infection in wild and feral animals--prevalence and transmission. New Zealand Vet J 27 (7), 134-135 PubMed.
  • Crum J M & Prestwood A K (1977) Transmission of Sarcocystis leporum from a cottontail rabbit to domestic cats. J Wild Dis 13 (2), 174-175 PubMed.
  • Fayer R & Kradel D (1977) Sarcocystis leporum in cottontail rabbits and its transmission to carnivores. J Wild Dis 13 (2), 170-173 PubMed.
  • Tadros W & Laarman J J (1977) The cat Felis catus as a final host of Sarcocystis cuniculiBrumpt 1913 of the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Proc K Ned Akad Wet (Biol Med) 80 (4), 351-352 VetMedResource.
  • Griffiths H J (1971) Some common parasites of small laboratory animals. Lab Anim (1), 123-135 PubMed.
  • Erickson A B (1946) Incidence and transmission of Sarcocystis in cottontails. J Wild Management 10 (1), 44-46 JSTOR.
  • Manz W (1867) Beitrag sur kenntnis der miescherschen schläuche. Arch F Mikr Anat 3, 345-356.

Other sources of information

  • Pakes S P & Gerrity L W (1994) Protozoal diseases. In: The Biology of the Laboratory Rabbit. 2nd edn. Eds: Manning P J, Ringler D H & Newcome C E. Academic Press, London.
  • Dubey J P, Speer C A & Fayer R (1989) Sarcocystosis of Animals and Man. Boca Raton, California: CRC Press.
  • Brumpt E (1913) Précis de Parasitologie. Paris: Masson et cie.

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