Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease description:

Intestinal Coccidiosis in Waterfowl and Cranes

Coccidial oocysts. Click here for full-page view with caption. Coccidial oocyst. Click here for full-page view with caption.

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL INFORMATION

CLINICAL CHARACTERISTICS & PATHOLOGY

INVESTIGATION & DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT & CONTROL

SUSCEPTIBILITY & TRANSMISSION

ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY

 

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General and References

Disease Summary

WATERFOWL Protozoal infection of the intestines, which may cause diarrhoea, sometimes deaths and occasional epizootics in wild waterfowl.
CRANES  

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Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Coccidiosis
  • Coccidiasis
  • Eimeria Infection

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Disease Type

 Parasitic - Single-celled/Protozoa

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Infectious/Non-Infectious Agent associated with the Disease

In waterfowl 
  • Eimeria spp.  (Eimeria abramovi, Eimeria anatis, Eimeria anseris, Eimeria aythyae, Eimeria battakhi, Eimeria brantae, Eimeria bucephalae, Eimeria clarkei, Eimeria crassa, Eimeria danailovi, Eimeria farra, Eimeria fulva, Eimeria hermani, Eimeria koganae, Eimeria kotlani, Eimeria krylovi, Eimeria magnalabia, Eimeria mulardi, Eimeria nocens, Eimeria nyroca, Eimeria parvula, Eimeria pulchella, Eimeria saitamae, Eimeria schachdagica, Eimeria stigmosa, Eimeria striata, Eimeria truncata)
  • Isospora spp. (Isospora anseris, Isospora mandari) (Isospora anseris, Isospora mandari)
  • Tyzzeria spp. (Tyzzeria alleni, Tyzzeria chenicusae, Tyzzeria pellerdyi, Tyzzeria perniciosa, Tyzzeria parvula)(Tyzzeria alleni, Tyzzeria chenicusae, Tyzzeria pellerdyi, Tyzzeria perniciosa, Tyzzeria parvula)
  • Wenyonella spp. (Wenyonella anatis, Wenyonella gagari, Wenyonella pellerdyi, Wenyonella philiplevinei)
In cranes
  • Seven species of Eimeria have been reported from cranes. (B591.9.w9)
  • Eimeria gruis. (B115.8.w4)
  • Eimeria reichenowi (B115.8.w4)
  • Eimeria reichenowi and Eimeria gruis were first described from the faeces of two Grus virgo - Demoiselle crane in the Leningrad Zoological Garden in 1935. [1935](J597.8.w1)
  • Eimeria reichenowi and Eimeria gruis isolated faeces from wild cranes, either Grus monacha - Hooded crane or Grus vipio - White-naped crane, at an artificial feeding ground at Izumi, Japan, were shown to be phylogenetically distinct from other Eimeria spp. [2005](J597.97.w2)
  • Adelina sp. - detected in sandhill cranes. (B115.8.w4, J1.22.w13) Considered to be spurious - from ingested invertebrates. (B702.19.w19)
  • Isospora lacazei - has been detected in two captive whooping cranes; thought to be due to contamination of feed by faeces from passerines. (B115.8.w4)
  • Eimeria bosquei sp. n. was described as subspherical to ovoid, 19-27 x 14-19 um (L:W ratio 1.13-1.61), walls about 1.5 um thick, uniform in thickness, with a yellow-brown outer layer, about 2/3 of the total thickness and heavily pitted, and a smooth inner layer appearing blue-green with an achromatic objective, no micropyle or oocyst residuum, containing ovoid sporocysts 10-14 x 7-11 um (L:W ratio 1.135-1.51) plus sporocyst residuum, Stieda and substeida bodies, multiple polar bodies of varying sizes aggregating at the apex, large posterior refractile body and a smaller anterior refractile body in each sporozoite. Most of the oocysts sporulated by five days at room temperature. [1986](J1.22.w13)
  • A survey in Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane in Kushiro district of Hokkaido, Japan, detected Eimeria reichenowi oocysts in 47/219 (26%) of crane faecal samples witn mean 8.8 oocysts per gram faeces.[2006](J27.68.w2)
  • Coccidia (Eimeria gruis and/or Eimeria reichenowi) were detected in 11/138 (85) of faecal samples from Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane, in December 2007 and in 7/118 (5.9%) in December 2008, in Hokkaido, Japan, and in 166/181 (92%) of Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane in January 2008 and in 32/33 (97%) Grus vipio - White-naped crane in January 2008, at Izumi in Kyushu, Japan. Hooded and white-naped cranes commonly had mixed infections with both Eimeria gruis-type (pear-shaped) and Eimeria reichenowi-type (round) oocysts in 74% and 63% respectively.; Eimeria gruis was found in 42/50 hooded cranes and 21/30 white-naped cranes while Eimeria reichenowi was found in 43/50 hooded and 27/30 white-naped crane samples. In the red-crowned cranes, in 2007 only Eimeria reichenowi type oocysts were found but in 2008 both types were found. Genetic analysis found a single group within Eimeria gruis (monophyletic) but Eimeria reichenowi were broadly separated into six groups (polyphyletic), and typr R-4 was not found in Grus vipio. [2011](J717.13.w1)

Infective "Taxa"

Non-infective agents

--

Physical agents

-- Indirect / Secondary

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References

Disease Author

Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Click image for main Reference Section

Major References / Reviews

Code and Title List

Waterfowl
B9.6.w1, B10.26.w11, B11.39.w7, B11.40.w8, B12.55.w1, B13.46.w1, B14, B15, B16.19.w1, B18, B32.34.w11, B36.26.w26, B37.x.w1, B48.21.w21
J5.24.w1
J27.29.w1
J30.61.w1
P4.1992.w1, P4.1993.w1

Cranes
B115.8.w4, B702.19.w19, B703.10.w10

Other References

Code and Title List

J1.17.w4
J3.69.w1
J5.12.w1, J5.40.w1
J6.17.w3, J6.20.w1, J6.25.w1
J7.4.w1

Cranes
J1.14.w17, J11.61.w2, J11.61.w3, J1.22.w13, J1.47.w5, J3.168.w1, J379.40.w1, J597.8.w1, J597.97.w2, J717.13.w1
P1.1990.w11, P5.29.w7, P87.1.w2, P87.11.w4, P99.1.w1

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Clinical Characteristics and Pathology

Detailed Clinical and Pathological Characteristics

General

WATERFOWL Effects may vary from subclinical or decreased production to enteritis with bloody diarrhoea and variable mortality in domestic waterfowl, and occasional epizootics in wild waterfowl.
CRANES Sometimesassociated with lethargy, loss of appetite, reduced weight gain and occasionally bloody dropings.

Clinical Characteristics

WATERFOWL Variable: asymptomatic (i.e. coccidiasis) to decreased growth rate to acute haemorrhagic diarrhoea or death. Signs include diarrhoea, which may be haemorrhagic, inappetance, weight loss and emaciation, pallor, dehydration, decreased growth rate, weight loss, weakness, anaemia. Growth retardation may be seen in young birds following severe infection (B13.46.w1, B14, B15, B18, B32.34.w11, B37.x.w1, B36.26.w26, B48.21.w21, P4.1992.w1).

N.B. May increase susceptibility to other pathogens e.g. various bacteria, Aspergillus sp. (J5.24.w1).

CRANES
  • Lethargy, poor weight gain, reduced appetite and occasional bloody droppings. (P87.1.w2)

Incubation

WATERFOWL Clinical signs seen in the period of 3-4 days post infection with Wenyonella philiplevinei in ducks; acute haemorrhage by 4 days post infection and deaths by 5-6 days with Tyzzeria perniciosa in ducks (B32.34.w11).
CRANES  

Mortality / Morbidity

WATERFOWL Variable morbidity and mortality. Rapid mortality may be seen with acute disease. Mortality of 70% may be seen on duck farms with Tyzzeria perniciosa ; nearly 30% mortality has been seen in epizootics in wild Aythya affinis - Lesser scaup (B15, B13.46.w11, B32.34.w11, J5.24.w1).
CRANES
  • Infection is common, as indicated by frequent recovery of oocysts of Eimeria gruis and/or Eimeria reichenowi from faeces of sandhill cranes in Florida, USA - sometimes being shed from about 80% of cranes. (B702.19.w19)
  • There are few reports of clinical illness associated with intestinal coccidiosis in cranes, but see also Disseminated Visceral Coccidiosis

Pathology

WATERFOWL Gross Pathology: Intestinal lesions - enteritis, may be extensive and haemorrhagic.
  • Early/mild infection: hyperaemia of intestinal mucosa, excess fluid in intestinal lumen.
  • Later/severe infection: serosa hyperaemic and may contain petechiae; thickening of intestinal wall; sometimes mucosal haemorrhages, sometimes mucosal sloughing: white-yellow fibrinonecrotic debris and coccidia overlying the mucosa, sometimes in long sheets. Occasionally intestinal lumen may be filled with fibrinonecrotic or haemorrhagic cores containing oocysts.
  • Site within intestines depends on parasite species, e.g. mainly anterior intestines with Tyzzeria perniciosa in ducks, mainly posterior iliac and lower intestines with Wenyonella philiplevinei in ducks, central and lower small intestine with Eimeria anseris in geese (B11.40.w8, B15, B32.34.w11, B36.26.w26, B48.21.w21, P4.1992.w1).

Histopathology:

  • Large schizonts in crypts of Lieberkuhn, merozoites in tunica propria, necrotic villi (epithelium and corium).

(B15, B18, B32.34.w11, B48.21.w21, J5.24.w1).

CRANES
  • In the intestinal tract, within the intestinal epithelial cells and the lamina propria of both the small intestine and large intestine, meronts and gamonts, also developing oocysts. [1987](J1.22.w13)
  • With monoclonal antibodies against Eimeria spp.: following experimental inoculation with Eimeria gruis, at 14 dpi, life stages of the parasite were detected in the intestines (jejunum and caeca), liver and lungs. The main area affected in the intestines was in the jejunum, from just proximal to Meckle's diverticulum to the ileocaecal junction, with an average of 169 sporozoites per cross-section of intestine. There was development all along the villi, particularly at mid-villus. In the caeca there were about 5 sporozoites per cross-section, in the crypts (within epithelial cells or the lamina propria) and the parasites were at a lesser developmental stage, small schizonts or macrogamonts, and were not present at the tips of the villi. (J2.29.w8, P1.1996.w10)
  • In the intestines, within the cytoplasm of cells in the epithelium (including the crypts), microgametes, macrogametes and oocysts. (P87.1.w2)

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Human Health Considerations

None (B36.26.w26, B37.x.w1).

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Susceptibility / Transmission

General information on Susceptibility / Transmission

  • Transmission of Eimeria spp. is direct, with unsporulated oocysts shed by the host and sporulated oocysts ingested by the new host. (B591.9.w9)
  • Coccidiosis (disease associated with infection) is more likely to be seen associated with ingestion of large numbers of oocysts and is rare in free-ranging birds; when coccidiosis is seen, it is generally associated with captive-rearing, over-crowding or stress. Young or naive birds exposed to high numbers of occysts are most likely to develop clinical disease. (B591.9.w9)
WATERFOWL Susceptibility:
  • Disease (coccidiosis) is seen mainly in juveniles, although infection (coccidiasis) probably occurs in all species (P4.1993.w1, B32.34.w11, B13.46.w1).
  • Infection is reportedly rare in swans (B9.6.w1).
  • Stress may increase susceptibility (B36.26.w26).

Transmission:

  • Oocysts are passed in the faeces, sporulate in the environment and are ingested by a new host. (B591.9.w9)
CRANES

Transmission:

  • Oocysts are passed in the faeces, sporulate in the environment and are ingested by a new host. (B591.9.w9)

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Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in:

Waterfowl

Disease has been reported in:

  • Lesser scaup Aythya affinis, particularly females, also small numbers of Canvasback Aythya valisineria and ring-necked ducks Aythya collaris at one reservoir in Nebraska, USA (Eimeria aythyae) (J5.24.w1).
  • Tundra (Whistling) swan Cygnus columbianus (B9.6.w1).
  • Canada geese Branta canadensis, goslings (J1.17.w4).
  • Domestic ducks (J3.69.w1).
  • Rosy-billed pochard Netta peposaca juvenile, common eider Somateria mollissima adult (J7.4.w1)

Infection has also been reported in:

  • Mule duck (mallard Anas platyrhynchos x muscovy duck Cairina moschata) (Tyzzeria pellerdyi, T. perniciosa, E. aythyae, E. nyroca, E. danailovi, Eimeria sp.) (J6.20.w1)
  • Mule ducks (mallard x muscovy) Eimeria mulardi (J6.25.w1)
  • Domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos), muscovy (Cairina moschata and mule duck (Eimeria mulardi) (J5.40.w1).
  • Pekin duck (Wenyonella philiplevinei), 'domestic duck' (Tyzzeria perniciosa, Eimeria battakhi, E. danailovi, E. saitamae, Wenyonella anatis), Mallard (E. anatis), blue-winged teal Anas discors (Wenyonella pellerdyi), gadwall Anas strepera (Tyzzeria pellerdyi), cotton pygmy-goose (teal) Nettapus (Chenicus) coromandelianus (Tyzerria alleni, T. chenicusae), ferruginous (common white-eye) pochard Aythya nyroca (Tyzzeria pellerdyi), lesser scaup Aythya affinis (Eimeria aythyae), common goldeneye Bucephala clangula (Eimeria bucephalae) (J5.12.w1).
  • Domestic goose Anser anser domesticus: Tyzzeria parvula, Eimeria fulva, E. nocens, E. anseris, E. stigmosa, E. hermani, E. sp (? E. clarkei) (J6.17.w3).
  • Tundra (whistling) swan Cygnus columbianus, Greater white-fronted goose Anser albifrons, Domestic goose (Anser anser domesticus), Greater snow goose Anser caerulescens atlanticus, Lesser snow goose Anser caerulescens caurulescens, Ross's goose Anser rossii, Emperor goose Anser canagicus, Canada goose Branta canadensis, Brent (Brant) goose Branta bernicla, Mandarin Aix galericulata, Northern pintail Anas acuta, American widgeon Anas americana, Northern shoveler Anas clypeata, Green-winged teal Anas crecca, Blue-winged teal Anas discors, European widgeon Anas penelope, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus), Gargany (Anas querquedula), American black duck Anas rubripes, Gadwall Anas strepera, Lesser scaup Aythya affinis, European pochard Aythya ferina, Common goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Cotton teal (pygmy goose) Nettapus (Chenicus) coromandelianus, Red-crested pochard Netta rufina (J30.61.w1).
Cranes
  • Eimeria reichenowi and Eimeria gruis first described from the faeces of two Grus virgo - Demoiselle crane in the Leningrad Zoological Garden, Russia, in 1935. [1935](J597.8.w1)
  • Eimeria grusi n. sp. was described from a faecal sampled from a Grus antigone - Sarus crane in the Zoological Gardens, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. These were described as ellipsoidal, 17-26 x 13-19 um, mean 22.2 x 16.5 um, length-width ratio 1.2-1.6, men 1.3, oocyst wall 1.3 um thick, smooth and double contoured, the outer layer being yellowish green and the inner layer dark brown. There were one or two polar granules but no oocystic residuum. There was neither a micropyle nor a polar cap. The sporocysts were described as ellipsoidal, 10-15 x 5-7 um, mean 13.8 x 6.1 um, the slightly narrower end being capped by a dark stieda body, and with the sporocystic residuum being present mainly in two clumps of dark granules. The sporozoites were 11 x 3.5 um, one end pointed, the other broader and carrying a refractile globule; the nucleaus was central. (J379.40.w1)
  • In faeces from 25 Florida Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pratensis), oocysts of two Eimeria species were found, also in three individuals, oocysts of Adelia spp. oocysts, thought to be probably spurious findings. [1975]( J11.61.w2)
  • In faeces from greater Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane, collected at their wintering grounds in Florida, oocysts of three Eimeria spp. were detected. [1974](J381.41.w1)
  • Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichnowi reported from Anthropoides virgo (Grus virgo - Demoiselle crane) in India. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • Out of 135 Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 1966-1975, intestinal coccidiosis was considered the primary cause of death in two chicks (15 and 16 days old) and a secondary factor in the deaths of two other downy chicks and one immature bird. (P87.1.w2)
  • In Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane, Eimeria gruis, was detected in 11/14 Grus canadensis pratensis - Florida sandhill cranes and in 62/72 Grus canadensis tabida (Greater sandhill cranes) in Florida, USA, as well as in 5/14 greater sandhill cranes from Arizona and 4/16 Grus canadensis canadensis - Lesser sandhill cranes from Texas. Eimeria reichenowi was detected in 12/14 Florida sandhill cranes and 66/72 greater sandhill cranes from Florida, in 4/14 greater sandhill cranes from Arizona and 5/16 lesser sandhill cranes from Texas. While an Adelina sp.was detected in faeces of 3/14 Florida sandhill cranes and 2/72 greater sandhill cranes from Florida this was thought to be spurious (not true parasites of the cranes). [1975](J11.61.w3)
  • In free-ranging Grus americana - Whooping cranes, coccidial oocysts were found in 6/19 faecal samples, with Eimeria gruis in four and Eimeria reichenowi in two. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In three free-ranging Grus canadensis rowani Canadian sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane) from Texas wintering grounds used by whooping cranes, Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi were both found in all three samples. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In faecal samples from 14 Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane, of four subspecies, maintained at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Maryland, USA, all contained both Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi  (except one greater sandhill cranes which was only found to be infected with Eimeria reichenowi). [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In 2/16 faecal samples from captive Grus americana - Whooping cranes, Eimeria reichenowi was detected. Additionally, Isospora lacazei was detected in faecal samples from two captive whooping cranes, although this was considered a spurious result probably due to contamination of feed with faeces from passerine birds. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • "Isospora balearicae" has been described from a captive Balearica regulorum - Grey crowned-crane (Belleria regulorum - capeground crane) at Calcutta zoological gardens, India, but the description has been noted to match Isospora lacazei. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • Heavy infections with Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi were noted in a free-ranging two-month-old Florida sandhill crane found weak in north-central Florida. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In faeces of Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane collected October 1982 - January 1983 and October 1983-January 84 in central New Mexico, oocysts of Eimeria spp. were found in 160/212 (75%) with Eimeria gruis in 139 (66%) and Eimeria reichenowi in 118 (56%). Additionally, a new species was detected, Eimeria bosquei in two faecal samples (1%) and an Adelina p. was found in one sample. There was Eimeria gruis only in 39 samples, Eimeria reichnowi only in 21 samples, both in 97, with one having Eimeria gruis and Eimeria bosquei sp. n. and one having Eimeria gruis plus Adelina sp. [1986](J1.22.w13)
  • In faeces of Grus grus - Common crane, eight types of coccidia were described with four considered to be new species. Those found were Eimeria reichenowi, Eimeria gruis, Eimeria grusi, Isospora sp., and the suggested new species Eimeria globulosa nov. spec., Eimeria pusilla nov. spec., Eimeria baltica nov.spec. and Eimeria longa nov. spec. [1987](P5.29.w7)
  • Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi oocysts were detected in faeces of a Grus nigricollis - Black-necked crane which had recently arrived at the International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA, from China. It was noted that coccidia were not found in faeces of other cranes at ICF. [1990](P1.1990.w11)
  • A study of parasites of Grus grus - Common crane in Europe detected coccidial oocysts in cranes in East Germany and Hungary in  October. Oocysts detected were Eimeria reichenowi (39% of coccidia in Germany, 61% in Hungary), Eimeria gruis (26% in Germany, 4% in Hungary, Eimeria pusilla (28% in Germany, 13% in Hungary, Eimeria globulosa (3% in Germany, 16% in Hungary), Eimeria grusi (less than 1% in Germany, 1% in Hungary), Eimeria baltica (<1% in Germany), Eimeria longa (<1% in Hungary) and Isospora sp. (<1% in Hungary). (P99.1.w1)
  • Eimeria reichenowi and Eimeria gruis confirmed in faeces from wild cranes, either Grus monacha - Hooded crane or Grus vipio - White-naped crane, at an artificial feeding ground at Izumi, Japan. [2005](J597.97.w2)
  • Oocysts of Eimeria rechenowi were confirmed in faces of 57/219 (26%) Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane in the Kushiro district of Hokkaido, Japan, in April 2003, with mean 8.8 oocysts per gram of faeces. [2006](J27.68.w2)
  • Eimeria reichenowi confirmed in faeces of juvenile Grus grus - Common crane and Grus vipio - White-naped crane in the UK. [2011](J3.168.w1)
  • Eimerii spp. were found in 19.2% of 167 free-ranging Grus grus - Common crane from Germany. [2011](J1.47.w5)
  • In faecal samples collected from Greater sandhill cranes in south-central Wisconsin in 2008, Eimeria gruis oocysts were found in 81/89 and Eimeria reichenowi oocysts in 73/89 samples (82%). Eimeria gruis oocysts showed the highest prevalence in July (95%) while Eimeria reichnowi oocysts increased during the four months, being highest in September (100%) (P87.11.w4)
  • Adelina sp. (considered spurious, from ingested invertebrates), detected in three Grus canadensis - Sandhill cranes from Alachua County, Florida, USA 1986-1993 and in two Grus americana - Whooping cranes from Alachua and Sumter counties, Florida, in 1997. (B702.19.w19)

Host Species List

Waterfowl

Cranes

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Disease / Agent has been specifically reported in Free-ranging populations of:

Waterfowl

Disease has been reported in:

  • Lesser scaup Aythya affinis, particularly females, also small numbers of Canvasbacks Aythya valisineria and ring-necked ducks Aythya collaris at one reservoir in Nebraska, USA (Eimeria aythyae) (J5.24.w1).

Infection reported in:

  • Canada goose Branta canadensis (J1.17.w4).
Cranes
  • In Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane, Eimeria gruis, was detected in 11/14 Grus canadensis pratensis - Florida sandhill cranes and in 62/72 Grus canadensis tabida (Greater sandhill cranes) in Florida, USA, as well as in 5/14 greater sandhill cranes from Arizona and 4/16 Grus canadensis canadensis - Lesser sandhill cranes from Texas. Eimeria reichenowi was detected in 12/14 Florida sandhill cranes and 66/72 greater sandhill cranes from Florida, in 4/14 greater sandhill cranes from Arizona and 5/16 lesser sandhill cranes from Texas. While an Adelina sp.was detected in faeces of 3/14 Florida sandhill cranes and 2/72 greater sandhill cranes from Florida this was thought to be spurious (not true parasites of the cranes). [1975](J11.61.w3)
  • In free-ranging Grus americana - Whooping cranes, coccidial oocysts were found in 6/19 faecal samples, with Eimeria gruis in four and Eimeria reichenowi in two. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In three free-ranging Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane rowani Canadian sandhill cranes from Texas wintering grounds used by whooping cranes, Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi were both found in all three samples. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In faecal samples from 14 Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane, of four subspecies, maintained at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Maryland, USA, all contained both Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi  (except one greater sandhill cranes which was only found to be infected with Eimeria reichenowi). [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • Heavy infections with Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi were noted in a free-ranging two-month-old Florida sandhill crane (Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane) found weak in north-central Florida. [1978](J1.14.w17)
  • In faeces of Grus canadensis - Sandhill crane collected October 1982 - January 1983 and October 1983-January 84 in central New Mexico, oocysts of Eimeria spp. were found in 160/212 (75%) with Eimeria gruis in 139 (66%) and Eimeria reichenowi in 118 (56%). Additionally, a new species was detected, Eimeria bosquei in two faecal samples (1%) and an Adelina p. was found in one sample. There was Eimeria gruis only in 39 samples, Eimeria reichnowi only in 21 samples, both in 97, with one having Eimeria gruis and Eimeria bosquei sp. n. and one having Eimeria gruis plus Adelina sp. [1986](J1.22.w13)
  • In faeces of Grus grus - Common crane, eight types of coccidia were described with four considered to be new species. Those found were Eimeria reichenowi, Eimeria gruis, Eimeria grusi, Isospora sp., and the suggested new species Eimeria globulosa nov. spec., Eimeria pusilla nov. spec., Eimeria baltica nov.spec. and Eimeria longa nov. spec. [1987](P5.29.w7)
  • A study of parasites of Grus grus - Common crane in Europe detected coccidial oocysts in cranes in East Germany and Hungary in  October. Oocysts detected were Eimeria reichenowi (39% of coccidia in Germany, 61% in Hungary), Eimeria gruis (26% in Germany, 4% in Hungary, Eimeria pusilla (28% in Germany, 13% in Hungary, Eimeria globulosa (3% in Germany, 16% in Hungary), Eimeria grusi (less than 1% in Germany, 1% in Hungary), Eimeria baltica (<1% in Germany), Eimeria longa (<1% in Hungary) and Isospora sp. (<1% in Hungary). (P99.1.w1)
  • Eimeria reichenowi and Eimeria gruis confirmed in faeces from wild cranes, either Grus monacha - Hooded crane or Grus vipio - White-naped crane, at an artificial feeding ground at Izumi, Japan. [2005](J597.97.w2)
  • Oocysts of Eimeria rechenowi were confirmed in faces of 57/219 (26%) Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane in the Kushiro district of Hokkaido, Japan, in April 2003, with mean 8.8 oocysts per gram of faeces. [2006](J27.68.w2)
  • Both pear-shaped Eimeria gruis-type and round Eimeria reichenowi-type oocysts were found in faeces of a male Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane, estimated age 10 months, in Hakkaido, Japan, February 2005. Phylogenetic analysis of nearly the whole length of the 18S ribosomal RNA gene confirmed the two types with high similarity to similar types collected from  Grus monacha - Hooded crane and Grus vipio - White-naped crane at Izumi, Japan. [2007](J597.100.w1)
  • In faecal samples collected from Greater sandhill cranes in south-central Wisconsin in 2008, Eimeria gruis oocysts were found in 81/89 and Eimeria reichenowi oocysts in 73/89 samples (82%). Eimeria gruis oocysts showed the highest prevalence in July (95%) while Eimeria reichnowi oocysts increased during the four months, being highest in September (100%) (P87.11.w4)
  • Adelina sp. (considered spurious, from ingested invertebrates), detected in three Grus canadensis - Sandhill cranes from Alachua County, Florida, USA 1986-1993 and in two Grus americana - Whooping cranes from Alachua and Sumter counties, Florida, in 1997. (B702.19.w19)

Host Species List

Waterfowl

Cranes

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Environment/Geography

General Information on Environmental Factors/Events and Seasonality

Associated with poor hygiene (particularly contamination of food and water with oocysts), overcrowding and prolonged use of one area, stress (B10.26.w11, B15, B36.26.w26).

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded

Worldwide (B36.26.w26).

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded in Free-ranging populations

USA: Midwestern states (Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Illinois, and Iowa) (B36.26.w26)

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General Investigation / Diagnosis

General Information on Investigation / Diagnosis

WATERFOWL In live birds:
  • Clinical signs (diarrhoea, weight loss, pallor) plus large numbers of coccidial oocysts in faeces. N.B. much of damage may have occurred before fecal oocyst production (P4.1993.w1, B11.40.w8, B13.46.w1, B14, B15, B36.26.w26, B37.x.w1).
  • Genus can be identified from oocysts: Eimeria - four sporocysts, each containing two sporozoites; Wenyonella - four sporocysts, each containing four sporozoites; Tyzzeria - eight sporozoites, not contained in sporocysts; Isospora two sporocysts, each containing four sporozoites (B14, B32.34.w11).

Post mortem examination:

  • Large numbers of coccidia in scrapings from the intestinal mucosa, histopathological changes to intestinal mucosa associated with coccidial organisms. Whole length of gut must be examined, since different coccidial species parasitize different areas (P4.1993.w1, B11.40.w8, B13.46.w1, B15, B36.26.w26, B37.x.w1).
CRANES

Coccidial oocysts. Click here for full-page view with caption. Coccidial oocyst. Click here for full-page view with caption.

  • Direct faecal smear
    • Mix a small amount of faeces with normal saline or Ringer's solution on a microscope slide, place a cover slip on top of the sample and read under the microscope. (B115.8.w4)
    • Use a x 10 lens for scanning the slide and x40 for examination of individual oocysts. (B115.8.w4)
    • Scan the entire sample. (B115.8.w4)
  • PCR: PCR can be used to detect oocysts in faeces but is less sensitive than direct microscopic examination, probably due to the robustness of the oocyst wall making extraction of DNA relatively difficult. [2011](J717.13.w1)
  • At necropsy, coccidia may be detected in the intestines/faeces. (J3.168.w1)
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Similar Diseases (Differential Diagnosis)

WATERFOWL Other causes of diarrhoea and slow growth.
CRANES Note: see also Disseminated Visceral Coccidiosis

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Treatment and Control

Specific Medical Treatment

WATERFOWL
  • N.B. Coccidiostats at standard prophylactic levels in chicken and turkey feeds can be toxic to waterfowl: halofuginone is toxic to geese, narasin and nitrofuran are toxic to ducks and aprinocid causes bill malformation in ducklings. Ionophore coccidiostats should not be used in combination with sulphonamides, erythromycin or pleuromutelin (B11.40.w8, B12.55.w1, P4.1992.w1).-
  • Amprolium is safe for use (B13.46.w1, B16.19.w1, B37.x.w1)
  • Sulphonamide 25mg/kg orally twice daily or 10mg/kg intramuscularly twice daily; Clazuril 5-10mg/kg orally every third day for three treatments, pyrimethamine and sulphaquinoxaline (60mg/litre of drinking water, three days on, two days off (B11.39.w7, B11.40.w8).
  • Toltrazuril (Baycox) 20mg/kg of feed, or 25mg/l of water, for 48 hours. Sulfamonomethoxine (Sulphonamides) 0.1% in food for 6 days, 0.02% sulfametoazole + trimethoprim (5:1) in feed for four days, repeated after six days (P4.1992.w1).
CRANES
  • Amprolium 0.025 mg per kg of food continuously for at least two weeks. Alternatively can be given at 0.006% in drinking water. (B115.8.w4)
  • Trimethoprim-Sulphonamides orally at 16-24 mg/kg once or twice daily, or intramuscularly 8 mg/kg twice daily. (B115.8.w4)
  • Ormetoprim-sulphonamide 0.015% ormethamine, 0.026% sulphonamide in feed, continuously for three weeks. (B115.8.w4)
  • Sulfa dimethoxine, 50 mg/kg orally once daily for two weeks. (B115.8.w4)
  • Triple sulpha soluble powder (sulfamerazine sodium 27.20%, sulfamethazine sodium 27.20%, sodium sulfathiazole sesquihydrate 29.85%) 1.5 teaspoon per US gallon of water: treat for two days, then provide untreated water for three days, then treat for two days, then provide untreated water for two days, then treat for one day. (B115.8.w4)
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General Nursing and Surgical Techniques

WATERFOWL --
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Preventative Measures

Vaccination WATERFOWL --
CRANES --
Prophylactic Treatment

WATERFOWL

Treat only if clinical disease confirmed (B11.40.w8).
CRANES
  • Amprolium 0.0125 mg per kg of food continuously. Alternatively (if provision in feed is not appropriate) can be given at 0.006% in drinking water. (B115.8.w4)
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Environmental and Population Control Measures

General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection

WATERFOWL

Low level infection allows birds to develop immunity. Control measures should aim not to totally eliminate coccidia but to prevent high levels of coccidia building up in the environment, particularly in rearing areas: general good hygiene and sanitation, clean out solid-floored runs frequently, move runs on grass/ground frequently, control flies and cockroaches (P4.1993.w1, B36.26.w26, B37.x.w1).
CRANES
  • If possible, measures to reduce the concentration of Eimeria in the soil. Concentrations of Eimeria may be much higher in soil in enclosures in captivity than would be found in the wild. (B115.8.w4)
  • At the international Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin, coccidiosis has never been a problem. Factors which have been suggested to account for this include daily removal of faeces from pens, daily changing of drinking water, prophylactic treatment with coccidiostats and cold (subfreezing) winter temperatures, which may reduce viable oocysts in the environment. (P1.1990.w11)
  • Rotating cranes between two enclosures yearly (or even between three enclosures i.e. a three-year rotation) is beneficial in reducing the concentration of coccidia in the soil. (B703.10.w10)
Population Control Measures WATERFOWL
  • Avoid overcrowding (P4.1993.w1).
  • It might be useful to encourage wild waterfowl to disperse if overcrowding persisted on a given area for some time (B15, B36.26.w26).
CRANES
  • Avoid high stocking densities.
Isolation, Quarantine and Screening WATERFOWL --
CRANES --
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