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Neosporosis in a white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) calf

DOI: 10.4102/jsava.v73i1.547

Keywords: Ceratotherium , Congenital , Immunohistochemistry , Myocarditis , Neospora , Neosporosis , Perrisodactyla , Protozoa , Rhino , Ultrastructure , White Rhinoceros

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A16-day-old white rhinoceros calf died suddenly while in excellent condition and showing no obvious previous clinical signs. It was the 9th calf of a mature female kept free-ranging with 11 other rhinoceros as well as various other game species on a 2000 hectare game breeding centre adjacent to the town of Lichtenburg and outlying cattle farmlands in the Northern Province. At post mortem examination, death was ascribed to heart failure. There was marked multifocal to coalescing subacute parasitic myocarditis with numerous proto-zoan bradyzoite cysts and free tachyzoites present amongst the predominantly round cell inflammatory infiltrate. The coccidian was positively identified as Neospora sp. using both polyclonal and murine monoclonal Neospora caninum antibody immunohistochemistry in the avidin-biotin technique. The parasites stained poorly with Toxoplasma gondii-specific immunoperoxidase staining. Ultrastructurally, a section of a bradyzoite-containing cyst, as well as tachyzoites, were largely but not totally consistent with those described for Neospora caninum. The dam showed no sign of illness. Neosporosis affecting white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) has not previously been reported. A summarised overview of neosporosis from selected publications and a recent review is given.


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