Volume 154, Issues 2–3, February–April 2016, Pages 263–267
Disease in wildlife or exotic species

  • Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bünteweg 17, Hannover, Germany


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease that affects man and animals worldwide. The primary hosts and major reservoir for Toxoplasma gondii are felids and the intermediate hosts are most warm-blooded animals including man. This report describes fatal toxoplasmosis in three different rodent species in Germany: a female red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and a male Swinhoe's striped squirrel (Tamiops swinhoei), both kept as pets, and a female New World porcupine (Erethizontidae sp.) from a zoo. All three animals had multifocal necrotizing hepatitis. Additional findings included lymphohistiocytic and necrotizing myocarditis in the New World porcupine and the Swinhoe's striped squirrel, lymphohistiocytic encephalomyelitis in the New World porcupine and suppurative lymphadenitis in the red squirrel. Numerous tachyzoites were identified associated with the lesions. The diagnosis was confirmed by Toxoplasma. gondii immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. This is the first report of toxoplasmosis in a New World porcupine and a Swinhoe's striped squirrel.


  • New World porcupine;
  • red squirrel;
  • Swinhoes's striped squirrel;
  • Toxoplasma gondii
Correspondence to: C. Puff.