Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2002
Publication Date: June 1, 2002
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Hamir, A.N. 2002. Experimental toxoplasmosis in budgerigars (melopsittacus undulatus). Journal of Parasitology 88:514-519.
Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis neurona are two single celled parasites that cause mortality in birds, especially in captivity. Budgerigars can die of these infections without clinical signs. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Beltsville and Ames, Iowa have fed graded doses of Toxoplasma oocysts to budgerigars. The describe lesions and diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in budgerigars. These results will be of interest to biologists, pathologists, and zoo veterinarians.
The susceptibility of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) to graded doses of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts was studied. Sixteen budgerigars were divided into 4 groups (A-D) of 4. Birds in groups A to C were fed 100,000, 1,000 or 100 infective oocysts of the VEG strain of T. gondii, respectively. Budgerigars in group D were not fed oocysts and served as controls. All 4 animals in group A died (or were killed) because of acute severe enteritis 5 or 6 days after feeding oocysts (DAFO). Three of the 4 birds in group B were killed (or died) because of toxoplasmosis 9 or 14 DAFO. One budgerigar in group C and the 4 budgerigars in group D remained healthy and were killed 35 or 39 DAFO. Toxoplasma gondii was demonstrated in tissues of all budgerigars fed oocysts. The control budgerigars remained clinically normal and had no evidence of T. gondii exposure. These results indicate that, compared to other passerines, budgerigars are relatively resistant to clinical toxoplasmosis.