SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.79 issue3 author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.79 n.3 Pretoria  2008




An outbreak of toxoplasmosis in an aviary collection of Nicobar pigeons (Caloenas nicobaria)



R D LastI; H L ShivaprasadII

IVetdiagnostix - Veterinary Pathology Services, P.O. Box 13624, Cascades, 3202, South Africa
IICalifornia Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, Fresno Branch, University of California, Davis, 2789 South Orange Avenue, Fresno, CA 93725, USA




Three out of 10 Nicobar pigeons (Caloenas nicobaria) in an aviary collection in South Africa were found dead with no presenting clinical symptoms. Histological examination of formalin-fixed tissues from all these birds revealed necrotic foci in various visceral organs (liver, spleen, heart, kidney and lungs), plus diffuse pulmonary congestion and oedema with vasculitis. Numerous protozoal tachyzoites were present in all organs and there was strong positive immunohistochemical (IHC) labelling of these organisms for Toxoplasma gondii. Pathology was consistent with acute systemic toxoplasmosis as a consequence of oocyst ingestion. Feral cats were known to be a problem at the facility. Clinical toxoplasmosis is rarely reported in pigeons and this is believed to be the 1st report of toxoplasmosis in Nicobar pigeons.

Key words: aviary, Caloenas nicobaria, Nicobar pigeons, toxoplasmosis



“Full text available only in PDF format”




1. Bermudez A J 2003 Miscellaneous and sporadic protozoal infections. In Saif Y M (ed.) Diseases of poultry (11th edn). Iowa State Press, Ames: 1018-1020        [ Links ]

2. Biancifiori F, Rondini C, Grelloni V, Frescura T 1986 Avian toxoplasmosis: experimental infection of chicken and pigeon. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 9: 337-346        [ Links ]

3. Bickford A A, Sanders D 1996 Experimental toxoplasmosis in chickens. American Journal of Veterinary Research 27: 308-318        [ Links ]

4. Buzzola J J, Russel L D 1991 Electron microscopy, principles and techniques for biologists. Jones and Bartlett, New York        [ Links ]

5. Center S A 1996 Acute hepatic injury: hepatic necrosis and fulminant hepatic failure. In Gulford W G, Center S A, Strombeck D R (eds) Small animal gastroenterology (3rd edn). W B Saunders, Philadelphia: 683        [ Links ]

6. Dhillon A S, Thacker H L, Winterfield R W 1981 Toxoplasmosis in mynahs. Avian Diseases 26:445-449        [ Links ]

7. Dorestein G M, Mensink M M H C 2002. Avian pathology challenge. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 16: 240-244        [ Links ]

8. Dubey J P, 1994 Toxoplasmosis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 205: 1593-1598        [ Links ]

9. Dubey J P, Garner M W, Willette M M, Batey K L, Gardiner, C H 2001 Disseminated toxoplasmosis in magpie geese (Anseranas semipalmata) with large numbers of tissue cysts in livers. Journal of Parasitology 87: 219-223        [ Links ]

10. Dubey J P, Goodwin M A, Ruff M D, Shen S K, Kwok O C H, Wizlkins G L, Thulliez P 1995 Experimental toxoplasmosis in chukar partridges (Alectoris graeca). Avian Pathology 24: 95-107        [ Links ]

11. Dubey J P, Porter S L, Tsebgm F M, Shen S K, Thulliez, P 1992 Induced toxoplasmosis in owls. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 23: 98-102        [ Links ]

12. Dubey J P, Webb D, Sundar N, Velmurugan G, Bandini L, Kwok O, Su C 2007 Endemic avian toxoplasmosis on a farm in Illinois: clinical disease, diagnosis, biologic and genetic characteristics of Toxoplasma gondii isolates from chickens (Gallus domesticus) and a goose (Anser anser). Veterinary Parasitology 148: 207-212        [ Links ]

13. Frenkel J K 1973 Toxoplasmosis: parasite life cycle, pathology and immunology. In Hammond D M, Long P L (eds) The Coccidia, Eimeria, Isospora, Toxoplasma and related genera. University Park Press, Baltimore: 342-410        [ Links ]

14. Frenkel J K 1981 False-negative serological tests for Toxoplasma in birds. Journal of Parasitology 67: 952-953        [ Links ]

15. Greiner E C, Ritchie B W 1994 Parasites. In Ritchie B W, Harrison G J, Harrison L R (eds) Avian medicine: principles and application. Winger's Publishing, Florida: 1017        [ Links ]

16. Grimmett R., Inskipp C, Inskipp T 1998 Birds ofthe Indian subcontinent. Oxford University Press, Delhi        [ Links ]

17. Hartley W J, Dubey J P 1991 Fatal toxoplasmosis in some native Australian birds. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 3: 167-169        [ Links ]

18. Howerth E W, Rich G, Dubey J P, Yogasundram K 1991 Fatal toxoplasmosis in a red lory (Eos bornea). Avian Diseases 35: 642-646        [ Links ]

19. Jacobs L, Melton M L 1996 Toxoplasmosis in chickens. Journal of Parasitology 52: 1158-1162        [ Links ]

20. Jones T J, Hunt R D, King N W 1996 Veterinary pathology (6th edn). Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore: 555-561        [ Links ]

21. Kirkpatrick C E, Colvin B A, Dubey J P 1990. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in common barn owls (Tyto alba) and pigeons (Columbia livia) in New Jersey. Veterinary Parasitology 36: 177-180        [ Links ]

22. Lappin M R 2000 Protozoal and miscellaneous infections. In Ettinger S J, Feldman E C (eds) Textbook of veterinary internal medicine (5th edn). W B Saunders, Philadelphia: 410-413        [ Links ]

23. Lindsay D S, Gasser R B, Harrigan K E, Madill D N, Blagburn B L 1995 Central nervous system toxoplasmosis in roller canaries. Avian Diseases 39: 204-207        [ Links ]

24. Lindsay D S, Smith P C, Hoerr F J, Blagburn B L 1993 Prevalence of encysted Toxoplasma gondii in raptors from Alabama. Journal of Parasitology 79: 870-873        [ Links ]

25. Mason R W, Hartley W J, Dubey J P 1991 Lethal toxoplasmosis in a little penguin (Eudyptula minor) from Tasmania. Journal of Parasitology 77: 328        [ Links ]

26. Mushi E Z, Binta M G, Chabo R G, Ndebele R, Panzirah R 2001 Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Chlamydia psittaci in domestic pigeons (Columbia liva domestica) at Sebele, Gaborone, Botswana. Onderstepoort Journal ofVeterinary Research 68: 159-161        [ Links ]

27. Parenti E, Cerruti Sola S, Turilli C, Corazzola S 1986 Spontaneous toxoplasmosis in canaries (Serinus canaria) and other small passerine cage birds. Avian Pathology 15: 183-197        [ Links ]

28. Ruiz A, Frenkel J K 1980. Intermediate and transport hosts of Toxoplasma gondii in Costa Rica. American Journal of Tropical Medical Hygiene 29: 1161-1166        [ Links ]

29. Summers B A, Cummings J F, de Lahunta A 1995. Veterinary neuropathology. Mosby, St Louis, MO: 163-169        [ Links ]

30. Vickers M C, Hartley W J, Mason R W, Dubey J P, Schollam L 1992. Blindness associated with toxoplasmosis in canaries. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 200: 1723-1725        [ Links ]

31. Wallace G D 1973 Intermediate and transport hosts in the natural history of Toxoplasma gondii. American Journal of Tropical Medical Hygiene 22:456-464        [ Links ]

32. Williams S M, Fulton R M, Render J A, Mansfield L, Bouldin M 2001 Ocular and encephalic toxoplasmosis in canaries. Avian Diseases 45: 262-267        [ Links ]

33. Work T M, Massey J G, Rideout B A, Gardiner C H, Ledig D B, Kwok O C, Dubey J P 2000 Fatal toxoplasmosis in free ranging endangered Alala from Hawaii. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 36: 205-212        [ Links ]



Received: June 2008
Accepted: August 2008



* Author for correspondence. E-mail:

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License