Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/30/2009
Publication Date: 4/1/2010
Citation: Britton, A.P., Dubey, J.P., Rosenthal, B.M. 2010. Rhinitis and disseminated disease in a ferret (Mustela putorius futo) naturally infected with Sarcocystis neurona. Veterinary Parasitology. 169(102):226-231. Interpretive Summary: Species of the genus Sarcocystis are single celled parasites. Sarcocystis neurona, is a major cause of neurological disease in horses and many other species of animals. It is transmitted via the fecal oral route from opossums, the only known definitive host, to an unusually wide array of intermediate hosts including raccoons, armadillos, cats, marine mammals, skunks, and brown-headed cowbirds. Naturally acquired S. neurona infection is typically localized to the central nervous system, and disseminated disease has not been reported in naturally infected animals. In the present paper, authors report severe disease involving nose and other organs in a ferret. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Naturally occurring Sarcocystis neurona infection in a ferret (Mustela putorius futo) with rhinitis and disseminated disease are described for the first time. The ferret exhibited severe rhinitis with intra-lesional S. neurona merozoites and schizonts. Diagnosis was confirmed immunohistochemically by staining with S. neurona-specific antibodies, and by phylogenetic analyses of conserved and variable portions of nuclear ribolsomal DNA. On the basis of intense schizogony in the nasal muocsa, we propose the possibility of an olfactory nerve pathway route of infection for S. neurona meningoencephalitis.