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Sarcocystis Infection in Dogs

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Sarcocystosis in Dogs

 

The causative agent of sarcocystosis (Sarcocystis) is the same organism that causes equine protozoal meningitis. It is believe dogs can become infected with Sarcocystis; however, symptoms of disease in infected dogs are rare.

 

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

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Symptoms in dogs are rarely seen but may include:

 

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, potentially bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle pain
  • Myositis (inflammation with the muscle)
  • Muscle atrophy (muscle wasting)

 

Causes

 

A dog 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.

 

 

Treatment

 

No definitive treatment for sarcocystosis exists. Treatments such as clindamycin or sulfadiazine may be tried if sarcocystosis is suspected or diagnosed.

 

Prevention

 

Do not allow your dog to eat raw or uncooked meat.

 

 
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