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In most parts of the world ratite farming (i.e. farming of ostriches, emus and rheas) is a new fi eld of livestock production. These birds are livestock with broad utilisation of their products. Both wild and captive ostriches, emus and rheas may be infested with their own specifi c parasites as well as with external and internal parasites of other birds and animals. Eimeria spp. (protozoa), Houttuynia struthionis (cestoda) and Libyostrongylus douglassii (nematoda) belong to parasites causing the most serious economic losses in ratites in the world. As farming of these big birds is still in the beginning, many years of research and development are necessary to reach levels of medical and technological progress that is nowadays practised in poultry industry.
Ostriches (Struthio camelus), emus (Dromaius
novaehollandiae), greater (Rhea americana) and lesser rheas
(Pterocnemia pennata), are big ightless birds, very good
runners, scienti cally called ratites because of the absence
of the keel of the breastbone (Deeming, 1999; Dingle and
Shanawany, 1999).
Wild ostriches are con ned to the drier parts of Africa,
generally from south of the Sahara to Cape Province,
extending also to southern Morocco, the northern Sudan and
southern Egypt (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999). Emus can
be found in most parts of Australia, ranging from coastal
regions to high in the Snowy Mountains, and they live
in a wide variety of habitats (Del Hoyo et al., 1992). The
different subspecies of greater rheas are distributed through
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (Sales,
2006). They live exclusively on the open plains.
In most parts of the world ratites are quite a new eld of
livestock production (Němejc, 2007) and it has not yet achieved
suf cient volume to provide meaningful data for many studies.
Ratite farming is still in its infancy compared to the poultry
industry, and many years of research and development are
needed in order to reach levels of medical and technological
development similar to those found in poultry farming today.
Preventive medicine, public health and welfare are the most
necessary issues in the future development of ratite production.
Both internal and external parasites affect ostriches
(Jefferey, 1996). Usually careless management, high bird
density as well as poor hygiene contribute to parasitic
infection (Chang Reissig et al., 2001). The prevalence
of internal parasites in hand-raised ostriches is low in
comparison with pasture-raised or free roaming birds.
In commercial ostrich operations, the eggs are incubated
arti cially and the chicks are raised in segregated ocks.
This separates the chicks from potentially infested adult
birds, thus interrupting the life cycle of most internal
parasites (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999).
Ostriches may be infested with their own speci c parasites
as well as with external and internal parasites of other birds,
some parasites of ruminants and raccoons (Eslami et al.,
In emus, parasites are not a common problem although
some farms found it necessary to treat for these (O’Malley,
Lesser rheas have only been raised on farms in recent
years; therefore information about parasitic diseases of
farmed lesser rhea is scant (Chang Reissig et al., 2001).
The economic impact of most of ratite parasites is still
undetermined. Further detailed analyses are needed to
determine not only the host-speci c status of ratite parasites,
but also the risk of infection for other animals and humans
(Ponce Gordo et al., 2002).
Parasites of the digestive system (proventriculus, gizzard,
small intestine and large intestine), as well as those of
respiratory and circulatory systems infest ratites. No
parasites of the nervous system of veterinary importance
were reported in them (Taylor et al., 2007).
Review Article
Parasite Fauna of Ostriches, Emus and Rheas
Karel Nemejc1, Daniela Lukesova2
Faculty of Agriculture, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic
In most parts of the world ratite farming (i.e. farming of ostriches, emus and rheas) is a new eld of livestock production. These
birds are livestock with broad utilisation of their products. Both wild and captive ostriches, emus and rheas may be infested with
their own speci c parasites as well as with external and internal parasites of other birds and animals. Eimeria spp. (protozoa),
Houttuynia struthionis (cestoda) and Libyostrongylus douglassii (nematoda) belong to parasites causing the most serious economic
losses in ratites in the world. As farming of these big birds is still in the beginning, many years of research and development are
necessary to reach levels of medical and technological progress that is nowadays practised in poultry industry.
Keywords: ratite farming; endoparasites; ectoparasites; coprology; treatment; Struthio camelus; Dromaius novaehollandiae; Rhea
americana; Pterocnemia pennata.
DOI: 10.2478/v10295-012-0007-6 AGRICULTURA TROPICA ET SUBTROPICA, 45/1, 45-50, 2012
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Most of the parasites are of minor economic importance;
however, some of them have been recognized as causing
serious losses (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999).
A number of intestinal protozoans, including Hexamita,
Giardia, Trichomonas, Cryptosporidium (Deeming, 1999;
Chang Reissig et al., 2001; Cooper, 2005), and Toxoplasma,
have been isolated from ostrich chicks. Often, they cause
serious diarrhoea in ratites. Metronidazole at 10 mg/kg,
orally, should be administered as a treatment (Jurajda, 2002;
Cooper, 2005).
There are at least two Cryptosporidium species infecting
ostriches. Cryptosporidia complete their biological cycle on
the surface of epithelial cells of the digestive and respiratory
system of birds, mammals and reptiles (Ponce Gordo et al.,
2002; Santos et al., 2007). In ostriches, unidenti ed species
of Cryptosporidium spp., have been shown to infect the
bursa, the rectum and the pancreas of ostrich chicks and
they are considered to cause prolapse of the penis in young
ostrich males. They have been diagnosed in ostriches in
South Africa as well as in ostriches imported to Canada.
The infection is diagnosed histopathologically on section
of the affected organs or by identi cation of oocysts in
faecal samples (Deeming, 1999; Jurajda, 2002). Functional
intestinal micro ora is considered the best defence against
cryptosporidia (Jurajda, 2002).
Coccidiosis is common in emu chicks (Jurajda, 2002).
No cases of coccidiosis in farmed ostriches have ever been
con rmed. According to Deeming (1999) no outbreaks of
coccidiosis in farmed ostriches have been documented
although an Isospora struthionis has been described from
an ostrich in a Russian zoo. Chang Reissig et al. (2001)
observed Eimeria spp. oocysts in faecal samples of lesser
Infected birds generally exhibit loss of appetite, weakness,
ruf ed feathers, their droppings may contain blood.
Symptoms are usually minimal in ostriches and infection
can only be properly diagnosed by post-mortem examination
(Dingle and Shanawany, 1999).
Regular use of anti-coccidial drugs is the best
treatment. Increased dietary levels of vitamin K as well
as sulphonamides and vitamin A supplements make the
recovery faster if outbreaks occur. Ammonia fumigation of
buildings appears to be an effective control of coccidiosis
(Dingle and Shanawany, 1999).
The agellate Histomonas meleagridis (blackhead) is
a parasite of turkeys and other gallinaceous birds causing
in ammation of caeca and liver. It may infect ostriches in
close contact with such birds and cause a similar disease
(Deeming, 1999; Jurajda, 2002). Histomoniasis infection
can be controlled with furazolidone and treated with
metronidazole and by the periodic examination of the faeces
(Jefferey, 1996).
A Trichomonas (a agellate) infection can be acquired
by ostriches via contact with pigeons and doves. It causes
pseudomembraneous lesions in the upper digestive tract
(Deeming, 1999; Jurajda, 2002).
Flagellate infections are treated by individual dosing
with dimetridazole (50 mg/kg body mass) (Deeming, 1999;
Jurajda, 2002) and prevented by strict separation of ostriches
from poultry, pigeons and wild birds (Deeming, 1999).
Balantidium struthionis is a ciliate and a common
inhabitant of ostrich intestines, probably capable of becoming
somewhat pathogenic under favourable conditions. Its cysts
could also be mistaken for coccidial oocysts (Deeming,
1999; Jurajda, 2002). The same is pronounced in case of
Blastocystis sp. (Jurajda, 2002).
Under favourable circumstances, ostriches are susceptible
to infections with avian species of Plasmodium spp., a
parasite of the circulatory system, transmitted by mosquitoes
(Deeming, 1999; Jurajda, 2002; Cooper, 2005).
Leucocytozoon struthionis, a parasite of the circulatory
system, is transmitted by arthropods (black ies) and
commonly infects ostrich chicks in South Africa - mostly
without causing clinical disease (Deeming, 1999; Cooper,
2005; Taylor et al., 2007). Treatment and control has not
been reported yet (Taylor et al., 2007).
The tapeworm (Houttuynia struthionis) belongs to a genus
of tapeworms in the family Davaineidae. It is a parasite of
the small intestine, and the exclusive and major endoparasite
of the ostrich and rhea. Houttuynia causes unthriftiness and
diarrhoea mainly in chicks (Blood et al., 2007; Jurajda,
2002). Frequent occurrence of this tapeworm is in chicks
and pasture-raised ostriches in South Africa (Dingle and
Shanawany, 1999; Jurajda, 2002).
The tapeworm has also been spread to Europe with
ostriches imported from Africa and it was diagnosed
sporadically in the USA, too (Jurajda, 2002; Cooper, 2005).
They are long, large, at, segmented, white worms of
about 50 to 100 cm in length and deprive the bird of food
(Deeming, 1999; Dingle and Shanawany, 1999).
The life cycle and intermediate host of this tapeworm
is unknown (Deeming, 1999; Jurajda, 2002; Taylor et al.,
Ostrich chicks are the most susceptible and show signs of
infestation very slowly: gradual loss of condition, lethargy
and anaemia, loss of appetite, sometimes accompanied by
mild diarrhoea (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999; Taylor et al.,
Diagnosis is made by observing mature tapeworm
segments looking like white grains of rice in the faeces,
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by observing eggs in faeces and by otation laboratory
techniques (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999; Cooper, 2005).
Treatment is fenbendazole (i.e. Panacur 2.5%), the dosage
15 mg/kg, orally, for 5 days (Jurajda, 2002), fenbendazole
(Panacur 2.5%) at the dose of 25 mg/kg after Dingle
and Shanawany (1999) or with resorantel (130 mg/kg),
niclosamide (100 mg/kg per orally), praziquantel (7.5 mg/
kg) orally (Deeming, 1999; Dingle and Shanawany, 1999;
Cooper, 2005; Taylor et al., 2007) or oxfendazole 5 mg/kg
orally (Jurajda, 2002; Cooper, 2005).
In Argentina, the anoplocephalid cestode Monoecocestus
rheiphilus was identi ed in Rhea americana (Uhart et al.,
The wireworm (stomach worm) - Libyostrongylus
douglassii, a parasite of the digestive system causing
libyostrongylosis (gastric verminosis, “rotten stomach”), is
the economically most signi cant gastrointestinal parasite
of ostriches, causing serious losses. It belongs to a genus
of nematodes in the family Trichostrongylidae (Yaman and
Durgut, 2005; Blood et al., 2007; Taylor et al., 2007).
Wireworms are very small, round, wire-like, yellowish
red worms of about 3 mm long, males being 4-6 mm and
females 5-6 mm long (Taylor et al., 2007).
Mature worms and late larval stages live in the crypts of
the glandular portion of the proventriculus and gizzard wall
(Deeming, 1999).
The life cycle of this parasite is typically strongyle (Taylor
et al., 2007). The parasite may be spread with infective
larvae on the pasture, by the spread of dung containing
parasite eggs, on footwear or on vehicle tires (Thompson
and Mason, 2006).
Young ostrich chicks are particularly susceptible to this
parasite (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999). They grow poorly,
are anaemic and death losses may be heavy (Blood et al.,
2007). Heavy infestation can produce impaction of the
proventriculus and may lead to a high mortality rate (Dingle
and Shanawany, 1999).
Diagnosis is based on nding wireworms in the
proventriculus or nding trichostrongyloid-type eggs in the
faeces of the host (Deeming, 1999; Dingle and Shanawany,
1999; Jurajda, 2002). There can be up to 3 million parasite
eggs passed per bird per day (Thompson and Mason, 2006).
Treatment is by ivermectin at 0.2 mg/kg orally (0.3 mg/kg
subcutaneously), fenbendazole (Panacur 2.5%) at 15 mg/kg
orally, or levamisole 30 mg/kg per orally (Deeming, 1999;
Dingle and Shanawany, 1999; Jurajda, 2002; Taylor et al.,
As prevention, levamisole is administered monthly to
chicks, four times a year to adult birds (Jurajda, 2002).
Wireworms are distributed in Africa, North America and
Europe (Taylor et al., 2007).
Appropriate hygiene and husbandry measures, including
removal of faeces aimed at limiting pasture contamination
help limit exposure to dangerous levels of infective larvae
(Taylor et al., 2007).
Two additional species of Libyostrongylus have been
described, namely L. magnus in Ukraine found in ostriches
originating from Ethiopia, and L. dentatus in the USA, found
in ostriches originating from Tanzania (Huchzermeyer,
2002). Their pathogenicity needs further investigation
(Eslami et al., 2007).
Trichostrongylus tenuis has been detected in caeca of
the emu, causing mucous haemorrhagic diarrhoea (Jurajda,
2002). This trichostrongylid nematode is widespread in
North America, Asia and Europe. Game birds, chickens,
ducks, geese, turkeys and emus are hosts of this parasite
(Taylor et al., 2007).
Codiostomum is a genus of parasitic nematodes of the
family Strongylidae. Codiostomum struthionis is a slightly
larger roundworm (Deeming, 1999). It is found in the large
intestine and caeca of the ostrich and it interferes with water
absorption (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999; Jurajda, 2002;
Blood et al., 2007; Ederli et al., 2008). It is distributed in
Africa (Taylor et al., 2007).
Codiostomum is about 1-1.5 cm long and white (Dingle
and Shanawany, 1999; Taylor et al., 2007). These nematodes
feed on the caecal mucus (Ederli et al., 2008). They are
exclusive to ostriches (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999). The
nematode life cycle has not yet been determined but it is
believed to be simple and direct (Taylor et al., 2007; Ederli
et al., 2008).
Heavy infestations are likely to be dangerous (Jurajda,
2002; Blood et al., 2007).
Treatment and control are the same as for Libyostrongylus
spp. (Taylor et al., 2007).
There were identi ed ova of gastrointestinal nematodes
of the genus Capillaria in greater rheas’ faeces (Uhart et al.,
2006). Eggs of Capillaria sp. were found also in lesser rheas
(Chang Reissig et al., 2001).
Other nematodes related to ostriches are Struthio laria
megalocephala that affect body cavity of an ostrich, and
Paronchocerca struthionis, a lariad nematode, a parasite
of the respiratory system recovered from the lungs of an
ostrich in West Africa. Dicheilonema spicularum is a lariad
nematode parasiting in the subperitoneal connective tissue.
It is up to 2.1 m long, having 2.5 cm in diameter (Jurajda,
Heterakis dispar, a nematode common in poultry, was
recorded in the alimentary canals of ostriches on a farm in
Iran (Eslami et al., 2007). It was the rst report on H. dispar
in ostriches. Another nematode with clinical signi cance is
Baylisascaris, which is transmitted to ostriches in the USA
by skunks or raccoons through faecal material in which the
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eggs remain viable in the soil for years. It is a neurotropic
parasite that causes CNS lesions and signs. Restricting
exposure to raccoon and skunk faeces is the best prevention
(Cooper, 2005).
Deletrocephalus dimidiatus is a strongylid nematode
parasite of the small intestine of greater and lesser rheas.
The life cycle is thought to be direct, with birds ingesting
infective larvae whilst foraging. There is little information
on the pathogenesis and treatment of this parasitosis in
rheas. The parasite is widespread in South America, North
America and Europe (Taylor et al., 2007).
Haemorrhagic tracheitis is caused by Syngamus trachea
in trachea of emus. Syngamus trachea is transmitted by
ingestion of its intermediate host with infectious larvae or
eggs from the ground. The de nitive hosts are gallinaceous
and singing birds. Affected birds shake their heads and
symptoms of dyspnoea are present (Jurajda, 2002). This
parasite of chickens, turkeys, game birds, and various wild
birds is worldwide distributed (Taylor et al., 2007).
Treatment is by ivermectin (0.2 mg/kg of body mass),
fenbendazole or mebendazole. Preventive measures are the
same as in poultry (Jurajda, 2002).
Cyathostoma variegatum affects trachea and bronchi of ducks
and emus. It is a strongylid nematode 0.4-3 cm long. Females are
larger than males. It has been reported to cause severe respiratory
diseases in young emus in Australia. A number of hosts may be
involved in transmission. Ivermectin is likely to be effective as
for treatment and control (Taylor et al., 2007).
The following species have been diagnosed in rheas in
South America: Sicarius uncinipenis (Spiruria uncinipenis)
is a parasite of the digestive system of rheas. Proventriculus
of the birds is infested by these nematodes that measure 15-
20 mm (males) and 16-26 mm (females). Spiruria zschokkei
(Vaznema zschokkei) is another nematode found in rheas.
Proventriculus and gizzard of rheas can be infected by
Odontospiruria cetiopenis. Paradeletrocephalus minor is a
strongylid parasite infecting small intestine of greater and
lesser rheas (Taylor et al., 2007).
Philophthalmus gralli (eye uke) can infest ostrich as well
as several other birds. It requires speci c freshwater snails
as intermediate hosts. It affects the eye and inhabits the
conjunctival sac, leading to conjunctivitis and lacrimation.
It is extremely small, no longer than 2-3 mm (Dingle and
Shanawany, 1999; Cooper, 2005). It is reported to cause
severe eye irritation and discharge in captive ostriches in
Florida (Kocan and Crawford, 2007).
Fascioliasis caused by Fasciola hepatica (liver uke) is
a zoonotic parasitic disease that occurs worldwide causing
important economic losses to sheep and cattle in commercial
herds. The infection also occurs in horses, pigs, deer, alpacas,
rabbits, kangaroos, wombats, possums, emus and humans. It
was also recorded in farmed and wild greater rheas in Brazil.
The intermediate hosts of F. hepatica are freshwater snails
of the genus Lymnaea (Soares et al., 2007).
Several species of ectoparasites affect ratites of all
ages, both ratite speci c and non-speci c parasite species
(Jurajda, 2002).
Birds infested with ectoparasites generally exhibit irritation
and react by scratching. Lice and mites can be found by
examining the skin and feathers, especially around the vent,
legs, wings and neck. Night-time examination of birds may
detect parasites that feed at night, but speci c identi cation
of the parasite requires microscopic examination (Dingle
and Shanawany, 1999).
Biting lice (feather lice, ostrich lice), Struthiolipeurus
struthionis cause skin and feather damage in ostriches.
The lice and eggs can be seen in feathers close to the skin
(Jefferey, 1996; Jurajda, 2002; Cooper, 2005; Yaman and
Durgut, 2005; Taylor et al., 2007). They are narrow-bodied
lice with large heads (Taylor et al., 2007), not sucking blood
but feeding on feathers. It is dif cult to spot them as they
can easily vanish under feathers. Struthiolipeurus eggs are
deposited on feather barbs on both sides along the shaft
(Deeming, 1999).
Treatment is 5% carbaryl dust at 14-day intervals (Jefferey,
A variety of other lice may also be found on ostrich
including Struthiolipeurus nandu and Struthiolipeurus
stresemanni (Yaman and Durgut, 2005; Taylor et al., 2007).
Meinertzhageniella lata and Meinertzhageniella schubarti
are lice that have been reported in rheas, Dahlemhornia
asymmetrica is an emu louse (Taylor et al., 2007).
The feather (quill, shaft) mites Gabucinia bicaudata
(Pterolichus bicaudatus) of ostriches live in the vein in the
ventral groove of the feather shaft and feed on blood and
gelatinous contents of feather sheath. They can be visualized
as small, reddish, dust-like, elongated particles in the feather
vein (Jefferey, 1996; Deeming, 1999; Jurajda, 2002; Cooper,
2005; Cooper and El Doumani, 2006;Taylor et al., 2007).
They are about 0.5 μm long (Taylor et al., 2007).
As ostriches moult continuously, there are always
immature feathers for them to feed on, although when their
population grows out of control they also attack the skin
causing scabies-like damage (Deeming, 1999).
Treatment for quill mites is ivermectin at 0.2 mg/kg at
30-day intervals (Jefferey, 1996; Cooper, 2005; Cooper and
El Doumani, 2006). Also G. sculpturata is common in the
ostrich (Taylor et al., 2007).
Struthiobosca struthionis ies from one animal to another
and irritates its host by sucking blood (Jurajda, 2002).
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A number of ticks of various species (e.g. Hyalomma and
Ambylomma spp.) affect ostriches, their main signi cance
being disease vectors (Jefferey, 1996; Deeming, 1999). In
addition, the long mouth parts of the tick cause extensive
damage to the skin when they tunnel through the skin.
High infestation is associated with areas of high rainfall
and dense vegetation (Dingle and Shanawany, 1999;
Cooper, 2005). A preferred site of attachment is under the
chin (Deeming, 1999).
Species of the family of Cullicoides may act as a risk
factor in ratite industry as well. Biting insects are notorious
for irritating ostriches causing stress when they attack in
large numbers. They may also be vectors of Plasmodium
struthionis and Leucocytozoon struthionis and mechanical
transmitters of fowl pox virus or lariosis (Deeming, 1999;
Mushi et al., 1999).
In general, infestations by lice, mites, ies and ticks are
treated by regular and thorough spraying with synthetic
pyrethroids or by dosing or injecting with ivermectin.
Preparations containing lindane should not be used as this is
highly toxic to ostriches (Deeming, 1999).
The signi cance of ticks, lice and mites should not be as
serious as in the south of Africa (Jurajda, 2002).
There is still very little known and written about both
internal and external parasites and veterinary care in
ostriches, emus and rheas. As ratite farming is quite a new
eld of animal production on a world-wide scale and only
few studies have been focused on these - for a prosperous
farm - important questions, more attention should be paid
to veterinary problems and health management of these
exotic birds. Due to the lack of information in ratite industry,
current and future breeders as well as veterinarians should
familiarize with basic aspects of ratite production.
Up to now the most endoparasite species are known in
ostriches, the same is in case of external parasite species of
ratites. The vast majority of informative materials on ratites
comes from other than European countries. Most scienti c
publications and articles all over the world are devoted to
ostriches. Very few materials are focused on aspects of emu,
greater rhea and lesser rhea health care and related problems.
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COOPER R.G., EL DOUMANI H.A.A. (2006): The Presence
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SALES J. (2006): The Rhea, a Ratite Native to South
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America. Avian and Poultry Biology Reviews, 17: 105-
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Parasitology. 3rd edition, Blackwell Publishing, UK,
874 p.
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Received for publication: June 2, 2011
Accepted for publication: January 16, 2012
Corresponding author:
Karel Nemejc
University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice
Department of Veterinary Disciplines and Quality of Products
Faculty of Agriculture
Studentská 13
370 05 České Budějovice
Czech Republic
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... Por otro lado, se ha descrito por diferentes autores que los ratite también pueden portar algunos ectoparásitos en su piel y el plumaje, entre estos sobresalen los ácaros (Struthiopterolichus bicaudatus y Dermoglyphus pachycnemis) (7,8,9,10). Algunos de los parásitos mencionados pueden causar prurito e irritación en la piel, así como daño y caída de plumas, lo que representa menor bienestar para el ave y baja calidad del producto final (4,7,10,11). ...
... Por otro lado, se ha descrito por diferentes autores que los ratite también pueden portar algunos ectoparásitos en su piel y el plumaje, entre estos sobresalen los ácaros (Struthiopterolichus bicaudatus y Dermoglyphus pachycnemis) (7,8,9,10). Algunos de los parásitos mencionados pueden causar prurito e irritación en la piel, así como daño y caída de plumas, lo que representa menor bienestar para el ave y baja calidad del producto final (4,7,10,11). Por lo anterior, el objetivo principal de este estudio fue identificar ectoparásitos en las plumas primarias de los especímenes adultos en un criadero del departamento del Cauca. ...
... Estos ácaros se conocen popularmente como ácaros de las plumas y fueron descritos por primera vez en el año 1843 en París en el avestruz (15). Sin embargo, desde el punto de vista taxonómico, se ha constituido en una dificultad la identificación, ya que no existen claves taxonómicas específicas y el ácaro se han reportado en anteriores estudios como Gabucinia bicaudata (4,7,10), Pterolichus bicaudatus y Struthiopterolichus bicaudatus (12,16). La nomenclatura de este último hace referencia a su relación con el hospedero (Struthio camelus), ya que es considerado un ácaro especieespecífico, por lo cual, estaría en concordancia para este primer reporte. ...
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Objetivo. Identificar ectoparásitos en las plumas primarias de avestruces adultas alojadas en un criadero del Departamento del Cauca Colombia. Materiales y métodos. Un total de 15 aves adultas (mayores de 7 años), con un peso promedio de 120 kg (10 hembras y 5 machos) fueron seleccionadas para el estudio. De cada ejemplar fueron extraídas tres plumas primarias del ala, siendo depositadas en bolsas plásticas para ser enviadas al Laboratorio de ciencias básicas de la Universidad Antonio Nariño. Una contramuestra de ácaros fijados en alcohol al 70% fue enviada a la Universidad Nacional, posteriormente, los parásitos se montaron en láminas examinadas al microscopio. Este estudio fue de tipo descriptivo y a conveniencia. Resultados. Las plumas poseían barbas desorganizadas y en su raquis un polvo de color café, al analizarlas microscópicamente, se obtuvo aproximadamente 1000 especímenes de un ácaro de pluma por muestra, del orden Astigmata, familia Pterolichidae y género Struthiopterolichus sp., lográndose diferenciar hembras, machos, ninfas y larvas. Este es el primer reporte del ácaro de Struthiopterolichus sp. en avestruces de Colombia. Conclusiones. En los avestruces inspeccionados se colectaron plumas que contenían el ácaro Struthiopterolichus sp. La evidencia de este ácaro puede generar alertas de control y vigilancia sanitaria al interior del criadero.
... Endoparasites in GIT can block the flow of ingested feed and result in impaction (Shanawany and Dingle, 1999;Cooper, 2005;Mendonça et al., 2010;Nemejc and Lukesova, 2012). Some parasites may even perforate the GIT; for example, Libyostrongylus douglassii resides in the gastric layers of ostriches (Sánchez-Ayala et al., 2018) and heavy infestation of this parasite obstructs feed passage, especially in young chicks (Shanawany and Dingle, 1999). ...
... Prophylactic anti-parasitic therapy is also a good option to reduce parasitic burden. However, these drugs should be administered after a positive diagnosis to avoid pathogenic drug resistance (Nemejc and Lukesova, 2012). In the case of enteric infections in a flock, preventive measures of providing antioxidants and digestible feed must be ensured (Rehman and Munir, 2015). ...
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Ostrich farming serves as a source for meat, feathers, skin, eggs, and oil. In general, ostriches are hardy birds that can resist a wide range of climatic harshness and some diseases. However, musculoskeletal and digestive complications, including the gastric impaction, remain the major cause of mortality. The gastrointestinal impaction alone is responsible for 30 – 46% of spontaneous deaths in growing ostriches. The literature review of 21 publications on this subject has shown that 90% of these incidents happen during first six months of life. The aetiology of this problem is mostly stress and behaviour‑related gorging of feed and picking on non‑feeding materials such as stone, sand, wood pieces, plastic, glass, and metallic objects. Conservative therapy or surgical approaches show good results with almost 70 to 100% recovery depending upon the clinical presentation and timely diagnosis. Overall, this literature review describes impaction in farmed ostriches, along with diagnosis, treatment, and control and preventive measures. This information will help stakeholders understand the gastrointestinal impaction in ratites to better manage this issue, reduce economic losses, and improve welfare of the birds.
... (Tully and Shane, 1996 ) and causing most serious economic losses in ratites through the world. (Nemejc and Lukesova, 2012). Cryptosporidium is one of the most widespread protozoan parasites that infects domestic and wild animals (Khan et al., 2018). ...
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Farming Ostriches is a new birds livestock production in Iraq which infected with varying parasites, including Genus Cryptosporidium from apicomplexan protozoal parasites which infected many species of birds. Molecular study by Nested PCR was done to differentiate between Cryptosporidium Ostriches. The results showed total infection rate 26.5% (53/200) Young's Ostriches < 9 Months recorded 30.19% (32/106), while the lowest 22.34% (21/94) recorded in the adult > 9 Months Depending on the nested PCR results, 5 Ostriches male were found infected with Cryptosporidium out of 24 with rate 20.83 % (5/24) while female Ostriches recorded 22.86% (16/70). Seven provinces in central and south parts of Iraq including : Wasit, Baghdad, Babylon, Diyala, Karbala, Al-Najaf and Al-Qadisyiah recorded 30% (6/20), 16.67%(8/48), 31.58%(6/19), 11.11%(3/27), 30.77%(8/26) 38.24% (13/34) and 34.62% (9/26) respectively. In relation to months of study. April recorded highest rate of infection72.73% (8/11) while the lowest rate 7.14% (2/28) recorded in July. The sequences analysis of nested PCR products revealed the presence of four Cryptosporidium species in Ostriches at central and south provinces of Iraq, namely C. parvum (4/20), C. baileyi (9/20), C. meleagridis (5/20) and C. galli (2/20). Confirmation and identification of C. baileyi was 100% homology was observed with their respective species sequences reported on Gen Bank on accession numbers (MN410723.1) in China while, C. parvum identity was 99.76 % on accession number (KM870602.1) in Thailand. C. meleagridis 99.53 % homology sequence identity on accession number (MN410718.1) in China and homology sequence of C. galli identity was 99.28 % on accession number (GU816045.1) in Brazil.
... Libyostrongylus douglassii nematodes of the genus Libyostrongylus -hematophagi-parasites that find themselves under the membrane of the forearms of the ostrich: they are common and can cause 50% of the death of young, and sometimes death of adults (Nemejc & Lukesova, 2012). This species has been found in ostriches from Africa, Europe, the Americas and Oceania (de Souza et al., 2019), although the natural range of ostriches is Africa (Barton & Seward, 1993). ...
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In ostrich farming is difficult to obtain the necessary production and economic results without protection of bird health. We determined the incidence of parasitic ostriches during the period of growing and keeping on specialized eco-zoos. Samples from small and large farms, as well as eco-parks in Kharkiv, Dnepr and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, were examined during 2016- 2020. We performed a parasitological study of 159 samples from three species of ostriches (black African ostrich, Australian common Emu (Dromaius), Rhea). Infestation of ostriches of different ages with two types of nematodes and Eimeria was established. We determoined that the population of ostriches in specialized farms and eco-zoos was infested with nematodes and protozoa with an extensiveness of invasion from 7.7% to 71.4% among adult birds, while young ostriches were infested with Emeria from 20.0% to 44.4%. The largest invasion by helminths and protozoa was observed among black African ostriches in Kharkiv region (41.4%), in Dnepr region it was 33.3%, and in Donetsk it reached 34.1%. Among the livestock of ostriches, there were both mono and mixinvasions. Most often, this was an invasion by Trichostrongylus spp. and Eimeria spp. in African black ostriches, capillaries and Eimeria in Emu. In Kharkiv region, the invasion of Capillaria by Trichostrongylus in African ostriches and Trichostrongylus in Emu were found when they were kept together. Acute and chronic eimeriosis disease can lead to the death of ostriches at the age of 3-4 months.
... Some previous studies have investigated the occurrence of ostrich gastrointestinal parasitism throughout Europe and reported a variety of parasites (Jansson and Christensson, 2000;Ponce-Gordo et al., 2002;Němejc and Lukešová, 2012). In Greece little research has been done on parasitism of these birds and scarce data exist from only one publication over the last twenty years (Sotiraki et al., 2001). ...
Ostrich farming is a worldwide practice and an internationally developing industry. Among challenges in livestock production are the parasitic infections. The present study aimed to the investigation of the gastrointestinal parasites biota and prevalence in ostriches raised in different areas of Greece. A total of 141 clinically healthy ostriches originating from four different localities of Greece were coprologically examined for parasites of the gastrointestinal tract. Coprological examination revealed a considerably high rate of infection (65.9%) with protozoa; however, no helminths (trematodes, cestodes and nematodes) were detected. In detail, cysts of Entamoeba struthionis have been found in 57.4% of the examined birds. Moreover, 39.0% of sampled ostriches harboured cysts of Balantioides coli (syn. Balantidium coli), while oocysts of Cryptosporidium sp. were detected at a low percentage (2.1%). Partial sequences of the small subunit rRNA (16S rRNA) gene and the ITS region were amplified from pooled Entamoeba and Balantioides positive samples, respectively, confirming for the first time the presence of Entamoeba struthionis and Balantioides coli in ostriches in Greece. Some of these parasitoses require attention as they may affect productivity performance of the animals in commercial ostrich farming and possibly pose disease risk for livestock and humans.
... Baylisascaris spp. is a nematode of great clinical importance in ostriches. This parasite can be transmitted by eggs present in the feces of opossums and raccoons, causing serious damage to the central nervous system and great economic losses to the ostrich industry, since these eggs can remain viable in the soil for years (Nemejc and Lukesova, 2012). In Rio Grande do Sul state, where the feces of 452 ostriches were analyzed, 300 of those animals were found to be parasitized by eggs of Heterakis spp., Ascaridia spp., Capillaria spp., Hymenolepis spp., Codiostomum spp., Isospora spp. ...
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Emus are large flightless birds in the ratite group and are native to Australia. Since the mid-1980s, there has been increased interest in the captive breeding of emus for the production of leather, meat and oil. The aim of this study was to identify gastrointestinal parasites in the feces of emus Dromaius novaehollandiae from a South American scientific breeding. Fecal samples collected from 13 birds were examined by direct smears, both with and without centrifugation, as well as by the fecal flotation technique using Sheather’s sugar solution. Trophozoites, cysts and oocysts of protozoa and nematode eggs were morphologically and morphometrically evaluated. Molecular analysis using PCR assays with specific primers for the genera Entamoeba, Giardia and Cryptosporidium were performed. Trophozoites and cysts of Entamoeba spp. and Giardia spp., oocysts of Eimeria spp. and Isospora dromaii, as well as eggs belonging to the Ascaridida order were found in the feces. Three animals were diagnosed with Giardia spp., and three were positive for Entamoeba spp. based on PCR techniques. After analyzing the data, we concluded that emus were infected enzootically by nematode and protozoan species.
... The presence of Giardia sp. in ratites (ostriches, emus and rheas) is not well documented in the literature, infections were reported in Struthio sp. [42] and D. novaehollandiae in a captive in Brazil [43]. Concerning Pavo muticus, prevalence of Giardia sp. in the present study was 2.8%. ...
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Giardia spp. (Diplomonadida: Hexamitidae) is an important and widely studied protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. Nowadays have six described species, and the most important probably is Giardia duodenalis due to the zoonotical potential that some assemblages have. Many studies analysing samples from wild animals have detected Giardia in captive environment, including the zoonotic type. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Giardia sp. in wild captive animals at São Paulo Zoo, using conventional parasitological techniques (direct smear, passive flotation with saturated sodium chloride solution and simple gravity sedimentation), from 2006 to 2016. In total, 7066 coprological exams were performed during this period with samples from mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The prevalence of Giardia infections was of 1.5% (103/7066). Mammals had the higher prevalence of infections with 2% (77/3872), followed by birds with 1.1% (25/2186) and reptiles with only one positive sample (1/894). All samples from amphibians were negative. Representatives of thirteen families presented positive results for this parasite: Dromaidae, Phasianidae, Ramphastidae, Cervidae, Giraffidae, Canidae, Felidae, Herpestidae, Myrmecophagidae, Callithrichidae, Cebidae, Hylobatidae and Dipsadidae. This study presents the first report of Giardia sp. in Pavo muticus and Brachyteles arachnoides. Infections were prevalent in Cebidae and Ramphastidae species. The findings of this study highlight the importance of identifying which Giardia assemblage are involved in the infections and if they may have a zoonotic potential.
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The prevalence of Ostriches cryptosporidiosis was determined for the first time in central and south parts of Iraq to study the effects of age, sex and months on the infection rate and to record the morphological characterization of Cryptosporidium spp in Ostriches. A total of 200 Ostriches fecal samples were examined by traditional methods for detection of the parasite. The total infection rate was 11% (22/200), and the highest infection rate was 12.26% (13/106) in chicks ( 9 months), while the lowest infection rate was 9.57% (9/94) recorded in the adult (> 9 Months). The study included seven provinces in the central and south parts of Iraq: Wasit, Baghdad, Babylon, Diyala, Karbala, Al-Najaf and Al-Qadisiyah. The highest infection rate was reported in Al-Najaf (23.53%) compared with the lowest rate (0%) in Wasit province. March reported an infection rate of 50%, while the lowest rate (0%) was registered during the summer months: June, July and August with a significant difference (P0.05) among months of the study. Morphologically, the study indicated the wide spread of Cryptosporidium parasites in Ostriches in both central and south area of Iraq
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Ostrich and Emu farming have been lunched with a very new concept to Nepalese market for their product in which parasitic diseases may cause significant effect to their production. In order to determine prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites of Emu, a total of 100faecalsamples were collected during the month of May/July 2015. All samples were microscopically examined by using direct smear and concentration techniques (floatation and sedimentation).Out of 100 faecal samples, 65% were found positive for gastrointestinal parasites. Overall, seven different species of gastrointestinal parasites including two protozoan, three nematodes and two cestodes were recorded. Amongprotozoan parasites, Eimeria sp. (30%) was more prevalent compared to Entamoeba sp.(10%). Among helminthes parasites, Ascaris sp. (15%)showed the higher prevalence rate followed by Dromaestrogylus sp. (10%), Davainea sp.(9%), Raillietina sp. (5%) and Heterakis sp. (5%). This study suggested that parasitic infection could be a serious problem in the farm hence needed to adopt appropriate control strategies in order to strengthen the successful emu production in Nepal.
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The fourfold world population growth in the last 100 years has brought about an increased demand for food and a poor socio-economic development. In addition, the climatic change is seriously affecting plant health and, consequently, the biology and reproductive behavior of the associated herbivores. This is particularly important in non-developing countries wherein a great part of their crops largely depends on a reliable control of locust outbreaks. In this chapter, we present an overview of the biology, economic impact, behavior, major outbreaks and possible prediction of attacks by the Moroccan (also called Mediterranean) locust Dociostaurus maroccanus (Thunberg). This is a polyphagous crop pest in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, although devastating outbreaks have also been noticed in Iran, Afghanistan and adjacent countries of the former USSR. The antennal morphology of the locust with the different types of sensilla detected in relation to other acridids pests is also presented. In addition, the different approaches developed for monitoring and control of the locust have been reviewed.
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The health of 22 free-ranging adult rheas (Rhea americana) examined and sampled during a translocation/reintroduction project and six juvenile rheas kept in semicaptivity was investigated, and details of their haematology and plasma biochemistry are presented. Serological testing for antibodies to infectious agents was negative for infectious laryngotracheitis, avian adenovirus, avian influenza, avian reovirus, infectious bursal disease, infectious bronchitis virus, paramyxovirus types 1, 2, and 3, fowlpox and Salmonella Pullorum. Antibodies to Chlamydophila species were found in 25 of 27 of the birds, and 22 of 25 had antibodies to Aspergillus species. Ova of gastrointestinal nematodes of the genus Capillaria were identified, and the anoplocephalid cestode Monoecocestus cf rheiphilus was identified in R americana for the first time.
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Quill mites (Gabucinia bicaudata) and lice (Struthiolipeurus struthionis) may infest ostrich feathers, resulting in skin damage, pruritus and excessive feather preening and loss. Four different feather types (prime white, femina extra wide, femina class 1, and femina short; n = 10) were collected. The quill mites and lice were removed with fine forceps, studied using a photographic optical microscope and counted microscopically at x 100 magnification following collection by sedimentation. They were placed in separate Petri dishes containing lactophenol solution and examined (x40 magnification). Anatomical features are described. The density of quill mites in all feather types of both wings was higher than that of the lice. There was no significant difference between the counts of both arthropods on the left wing and the right wing, respectively, except for the femina class 1 quill mites (P = 0.01). The femina extra wide feathers were a preferred habitat in both wings. Large standard deviations (quill mites left wing: 73 +/- 8; quill mites right wing: 69 +/- 7) suggested variations in the degree of migration between feather shafts or as a response to escape preening. It is recommended that ostriches be treated with an oral preparation of Ivermectin administered per os at a dosage rate of 0.2 mg/kg at 30-day intervals for quill mites, and with a 1-5 % Malathion dust at 14-day intervals for lice.
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Ostriches have few endo and ectoparasite agents. These include Houttuynia struthionis, Libyostrongylus douglassii, Chandrella quiscali, Cryptosporidium spp, Isospora struthionis, Struthiolipeurus struthionis, S. nandu, Pterolichus bicaudatus, Gabucinia sculpturata, Dermoglyphus pachycnemi and Hypoboscis struthionis. Furthermore, ostriches can also be infected with other parasites (such as the amoeba, Giardia, Trichomonas, Histomonas spp.), when they are raised along with mammals and other birds. Generally, ostriches are resistant to parasites, but sometimes immunodeficient mature and young ostriches can easily be infected. This review gives up-to-date knowledge about common ostriches for which breeding industries in Turkey have recently been increasing.
Codiostomum struthionis is a nematode parasite of the ostrich caecum. Little is known about its pathology, being considered by many authors as a non-pathogenic parasite. Infections by C. struthionis are sometimes overlooked because its eggs are indistinguishable from another ostrich nematode, Libyostrongylus spp. Fecal cultures and infective larvae identification are necessary for proper identification. The aim of this study is to provide improved morphological characterization of adults and infective larvae of C. struthionis. Ten caeca of adult ostriches were collected and washed in 0.09% saline solution. Male and female nematodes were collected and quantified separately. Nematodes were fixed in A.F.A. for optical microscopy or fixed in Karnovsky solution for scanning electron microscopy. To obtain infective larvae, fecal samples were collected at sites of high concentration of parasites in the caeca and fecal cultured. The resultant larvae were identified and measured with light microscope at 400x. Nine of the 10 slaughtered ostriches were parasitized by C. struthionis. All nematodes were found in the distal third of the caeca. A total of 566 parasites were recovered (234 males and 332 females). All the cultured larvae had characteristics of C. struthionis (rounded cephalic region with a flat extremity, an acute larvae tail termination and a long and filamentous sheath tail). All the adult parasites were characterized as C. struthionis. Through the analysis of the infective larvae it was determined that the morphology of the larvae tail was the best trait to use in the distinction of this species (live bird diagnosis).
During a 4-year-period, more than 500 ostriches and several rheas, all born in European countries and raised in Spain and Portugal, have been analyzed for the presence of ectoparasites and endoparasites. A total of 29 parasite species have been found, most of them of the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the helminth species found may represent spureous parasitosis, as only the eggs (of an ascarid and a trematode) were found in some samples. From the organisms identified, the ectoparasites (lice-Struthiolipeurus rheae, S. nandu; mites-Dermoglyphus pachycnemis, Gabucinia bicaudata), helminths (cestoda-Houttuynia struthionis- and nematoda-Libyostrongylus sp., Codiostomum struthionis-) and the ciliate Balantidium struthionis are known as ratite specific parasites. Capillaria eggs and larvae were also found; there are no previous records of this parasite from ostriches, and the data available do not allow to do a temptative specific diagnosis. Among protozoa, most of the species now found are described for the first time in ratites. They include organisms also found in other birds (Trichomonas gallinae, Tetratrichomonas gallinarum, Chilomastix gallinarum, Spironucleus meleagridis and Pleuromonas jaculans), and organisms whose specific status cannot be established until further analysis are performed (Cryptosporidium sp., Eimeria sp. and/or Isospora sp., Entamoeba sp. of the one-nucleate and of the eight-nucleate mature cyst groups, Endolimax sp., Iodamoeba sp., Monocercomonas sp., Retortamonas sp., Giardia sp., Blastocystis sp. and euglenids).
From 50 farmed Rhea americana slaughtered for human consumption, adult forms and eggs of Fasciola hepatica were found in 4. The other three livers were free of flukes but did show lesions caused by larval fluke migration. Histological lesions were similar to those caused by flukes in cattle and sheep. The rheas were from an endemic area of ruminant fascioliasis in Southern Brazil. F. hepatica eggs were also found in faecal samples of wild rheas from another endemic area in Southern Brazil. It is likely that the rheas play a role in the transmission of the disease to ruminants and could be jeopardizing the control of this parasitosis in endemic areas. From the best of our knowledge this is the first report of fascioliasis in R. americana.
Thesis The Czech Republic. www.czu
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B.Sc. Thesis, Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, The Czech Republic. O'MALLEY P. (1998): Emu Farming: A Handbook for Farmers and Investors. Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation of the Australian Government, Kingston, 6 p.
Bacterial, Fungal and Parasitic Infections in the Ostrich (Struthio camelus var. domesticus)
COOPER R.G. (2005): Bacterial, Fungal and Parasitic Infections in the Ostrich (Struthio camelus var. domesticus). Animal Science Journal, 76: 97-106.