Eight lorikeets presented with acute signs of respiratory distress or were found deceased within a 3-month time period. The affected birds were diagnosed, postmortem, with acute pulmonary and systemic sarcocystosis. Outbreaks of sarcocystosis have been documented in psittacines and often result in high mortality in these species.2,4 Antemortem testing of sarcocystosis is limited to few diagnostic tests.1,3
One of the affected lorikeets responded to a 30-day course of ponazuril and was successfully returned to the aviary. The exhibit soil was replaced and resulted in a decrease in mortality within this lorikeet flock. Sarcocystosis should be considered as a differential diagnosis in psittacine collections experiencing multiple, acute deaths with few premonitory signs.
Special thanks to Michael Garner, DVM, DACVP for assistance with histopathology.
1. Cray, C., K. Zielezienski-Roberts, M. Bonda, R. Stevenson, R. Ness, S. Clubb, and A. Marsh. 2005. Serologic diagnosis of sarcocystosis in psittacine birds: 16 cases. J Avian Med Surg. 19(3):208–215
2. Ecco, R., M.M. Luppi, M.C. Malta, M.R. Araújo, R.M. Guedes, and H.L. Shivaprasad. 2008. An outbreak of sarcocystosis in psittacines and a pigeon in a zoological collection in Brazil. Avian Dis. 52(4): 706–710.
3. Page, C. D., R. E. Schmidt, and J. H. English, et al. 1992. Antemortem diagnosis and treatment of sarcocystosis in two species of psittacines. J Zoo Wildl Med. 23:77–85.
4. Villar, D., M. Kramer, L. Howard, E. Hammond, C. Cray, and K. Latimer. 2008. Clinical presentation and pathology of sarcocystosis in psittaciform birds: 11 cases. Avian Dis. 52(1): 187–194.