Hydatid cysts in Elephants and Great Apes

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names
  • Hydatidodid
  • Echinococcosis
  • Hydatid disease
  • Echinococcus granulosus infection

See also: Cestodes in Elephants

Disease Agents
  • Echinococcus granulosus causing hydatid cysts (rare in elephants). (B455.w7)
  • Echinococcus granulosus, Echinococcus vogeli in great apes. (B644.3.w3)
Infectious Agent(s)
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
Clinical signs
  • There may be no clinical signs. (B644.3.w3)
  • Abdominal distension, exophthalmia or subcutaneous swellings may be seen, depending on the location of the cyst. (B644.3.w3)
  • Hydatid cysts are generally found within the abdominal or thoracic cavity, liver, lungs, subcutis or retrobulbar, but may be found throughout the body. (B644.3.w3)
  • Usually found as a spherical mass. (B644.3.w3)
  • Note: Often an incidental finding at necropsy. (B644.3.w3)
Further Information
In Elephants
  • Hydatid cysts or "bladder worm" were reported to be present rarely in elephants in Burma, usually in the liver. (B212.w33)
  • "Hydatid cysts of the tapeworm family appear fairly frequently in the liver of the Asiatic elephant, but it has not been possible to locate any clear reference to similar occurrences in the African species. (B453.7.w7)
  • Reports of hydatid disease due to Echinococcus granulosus in elephants are rare. (B455.w7)
In Great Apes
  • Radiography, to detect pulmonary cycts of calcified hepatic cysts. (B644.3.w3)
  • Ultrasonography. (B644.3.w3)
  • Serological test: tanned cell haemagglutination test. (B644.3.w3)
  • Casoni intradermal skin test. (B644.3.w3)
  • Specific diagnosis (of the species of parasite) requires examination of detached scolices in the fluid of the cyst. (B644.3.w3)
  • The histomorphology of the cyst wall also can aid in specific diagnosis. (B644.3.w3)
    • The wall of hydatic cysts due to Echinococcus granulosus typically is composed of a thick hyaline material and is laminated. (B644.3.w3)
Differential diagnosis
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species

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