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Cryptosporidiosis is an intestinal protozoal disease of public health importance caused by Cryptosporidium spp. Despite the high synanthropism of raccoons, studies describing the pathology of Cryptosporidium spp. infections in this species are lacking. Therefore, we characterized the pathology of cryptosporidiosis in 2 juvenile raccoons. In addition, we conducted a retrospective search of the database of the California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratory for 1990-2019 and found 6 additional cases of cryptosporidiosis in raccoons. Sequencing of cryptosporidia was performed in one autopsied raccoon, and PCR on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues in archived cases. The Cryptosporidium skunk genotype (CSkG), a strain of zoonotic relevance, was detected in 6 of 8 cases (75%). Frequently, cryptosporidiosis was associated with enteritis, eosinophilic infiltrates, villus atrophy or blunting and/or fusion, and crypt abscesses or necrosis. In 7 of the 8 cases, there was confirmed concurrent coinfection with canine distemper virus; 1 case was coinfected with canine parvovirus. Although crypt necrosis is considered a classic lesion of canine parvoviral infection in mesocarnivores and not a hallmark of cryptosporidiosis, results suggest that canine distemper virus is capable of mimicking such lesions in combination with cryptosporidia and immunosuppression.


Viviana Gonzalez-Astudillo, Matthew F Sheley, Francisco A Uzal, Mauricio A Navarro. Pathology of cryptosporidiosis in raccoons: case series and retrospective analysis, 1990-2019. Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc. 2021 Jul;33(4):721-727

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PMID: 33955305

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