Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is the largest of the wild gallinaceous birds in Europe and traditionally an important game. A protozoan infection, believed to be toxoplasmosis, has been thought to cause serious mortality in capercaillie for many years. Recently, another group of Sarcocystis like organisms have been known to cause deaths in horses, raccoons, mink and some species of birds. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and National Veterinary Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland report the first case of acute sarcocystosis in a capercaillie from Finland and describe the parasite structure in detail. The finding will be of use to veterinarians, pathologists, and parasitologists.
Acute generalized sarcocystosis was diagnosed in a capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) from Finland. Microscopic lesions were seen in the heart, lungs, spleen, liver, and brain. Protozoa were found in all organs, especially in the lungs and spleen. Only asexual stages were observed. The parasite divided by endopolygeny. Schizonts were usually 10 m wide and up to 55 m long. Merozoites are 3-4 m long and 1.5-2.0 m wide. Sarcocysts and sexua stages are unknown. The parasite was considered to be a species of Sarcocystis with an unknown life cycle. This is the first report of acute sarcocystosis in capercaillie from Finland.