Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

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Cryptosporidium spp.



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Protozoa (coccidia)            

Cryptosporidium felis and C. canis appear to be the primary species infecting cats and dogs, respectively.   

Distribution: Worldwide.   

Host: Small intestine.            

Life Cycle: These parasites have a direct life cycle. Cats and dogs are infected following ingestion of oocysts, which are infective as soon as they are passed in the feces. Following asexual and sexual multiplication of the organism in the intestine, oocysts are produced and exit the host in the feces.   

Diagnosis: Small oocysts in the feces are detected by use of acid-fast or other stains of fecal smears, Sheather’s sugar fotation test, fecal antigen tests, or molecular diagnostic procedures. Oocysts of C. parvum and C. canis are morphologically indistinguishable, while C. felis  oocysts are smaller than those of the other two species.           

Size: 3.5–5µm in diameter  C. felis          

Size: 7 × 5 µm C. parvum, C. canis       

Clinical features: Cryptosporidiosis has been reported as an uncommon cause of chronic diarrhea in cats. Affected cats are often immunosuppressed by other causes. Although implicated in rare instances, Cryptosporidium infections in dogs and cats do not appear to be a signifcant source of zoonotic exposure for humans !


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