Sarcocysts of Sarcocystis odocoileocanis were found in tissue sections of hearts and tongues examined by light microscopy from 30 (88%) of 34 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Hearts were infected less often (13 of 34, 38%) than were tongues (30 of 34, 88%). Sarcocysts of Sarcocystis odoi were not observed in the white-tailed deer examined. A gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) excreted sporocysts after consuming tongues of white-tailed deer infected with S. odocoileocanis. Two goats inoculated with either 50,000 or 500,000 sporocysts of S. odocoileocanis isolated from the gray fox did not have sarcocysts in tissue sections of the heart, tongue, diaphragm, or esophagus when examined 122 days postinoculation. Dogs fed these tissues from control or inoculated goats did not pass sporocysts in their feces. The present study demonstrates: (1) a high prevalence of S. odocoileocanis infection in white-tailed deer in Alabama, and (2) that goats are not suitable intermediate hosts for S. odocoileocanis.
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Vol. 24 • No. 1