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Sarcocystis Infection in Cats

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Sarcocystosis in Cats

 

The causative agent of sarcocystosis (Sarcocystis) is the same organism that causes equine protozoal meningitis. Cats that live around horses and other herbivores (cattle, swine, etc.) may serve as a reservoir for infection for these animals. Symptoms in infected cats are rare however.

 

Sarcocystosis can occur in both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this type of infection affects dogs, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Symptoms in cats are rarely seen but may include:

 

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, potentially bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Paralysis

 

Causes

 

A cat may be infected by eating raw meat contaminated with Sarcocystis organisms.

 

Diagnosis

 

Occasionally, Sarcocystis organisms can be seen in the feces on microscopic fecal examination. However, in most instances, diagnosis is accomplished by finding the organism on histopathology in tissues such as the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, brain and/or muscle.

 

More specialized testing such as immunohistochemistry and PCR may be available at some research facilities but are not widely available outside of a research setting.

 

 

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