Sarcocystis sp.-associated meningoencephalitis in a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

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Protozoal meningoencephalitis is uncommon in raptors. An adult female bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was euthanized after several months of treatment for progressive neurologic signs. The predominant histologic lesion was lymphoplasmacytic and histiocytic meningoencephalitis involving the cerebrum and cerebellum. There was a marked segmental loss of granular cells and Purkinje cells, as well as segmental atrophy of the molecular layer in the cerebellum. Protozoal merozoites and schizonts were observed in the gray matter of the cerebellum. Ultrastructurally, the merozoites were classified as a species of Sarcocystis due to the lack of rhoptries. Immunohistochemistry of the agent revealed a positive reaction for Sarcocystis neurona, while sections were negative for Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum. Sarcocystis sp. infection should be considered as a differential diagnosis in bald eagles with chronic neurologic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-568
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Sarcocystis sp. infection


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