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Neurological disease (?) in gray squirrels

ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu
Tue May 3 13:46:46 EST 1994

>>In Article <Cow066.6qC at watserv2.uwaterloo.ca>
>>bugman at sciborg.uwaterloo.ca (Steve Smith) writes:
>>> gray squirrels [ stuff deleted ] have
>>>been exhibiting symptoms of possibly some neurological disorder,
>>>marked by ataxia, particularly of the hind limbs, odd postures of the
>>>head (crinked neck muscles) and general lack of coordination.
>>>Does anyone know if a disease with these features has been reported in
>>>squirrels and, if "yes", what it might be and is it transmissable to
>>>other wildlife or domestic animals?

In article <1994Apr29.112737.19366 at martha.utcc.utk.edu> ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu
>>Toxoplasma gondii is one protozoan that comes immediately to mind. 

In Article <patton.sharon.2 at HOSPITAL.VET.UTK.EDU>
patton.sharon at HOSPITAL.VET.UTK.EDU (Sharon Patton) replied:

>Although I love Toxoplasma, my first guess on the neurological problem
>in a squirrel would be Baylisascaris.  We had such a case last year!

You're right, Baylisascaris is a more likely candidate as the etiologic
agent for the syndrome described by "bugman".  I guess I just had protozoa
on the brain the other day.  Was there a paper in the Vet Diagnostic journal
a couple of years ago that described a similar case ?  The Kazacos paper in
Zoonosis Updates (JAVMA Oct 1989) is a good reference for anyone following this
thread who would like to know more about the nematode.  The references
contained therein comprise most of the classic literature on the parasite
and its zoonotic potential. Enjoy!!!!

CT Faulkner, Univ of TN, Knoxville

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