Case Series: Virulent hemosporidiosis infections in juvenile great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) from Louisiana and California, USA

Kevin D. Niedringhaus, Heather M.A. Fenton, Christopher A. Cleveland, A. Nikki Anderson, Diana Schwartz, Charles E. Alex, Krysta H. Rogers, Asli Mete, Michael J. Yabsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


A total of eight juvenile great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) were found lethargic and on the ground in spring 2015, 2016, and 2017, including one fledgling from Louisiana, USA and seven nestlings from California, USA. One bird survived to release after rehabilitation; seven birds died or were euthanized due to poor prognosis and were necropsied. Necropsy findings were similar and included general pallor of all tissues, particularly the subcutis and lungs, and enlarged liver and spleen. Histopathology revealed multi-organ necrosis, abundant meronts containing merozoites, and intracytoplasmic pigmented haemosporidian parasites in blood cells in one bird. Leucocytozoon lineages lSTOCC16 and BUVIR06 were identified by polymerase chain reaction and genetic sequencing. The systemic Leucocytozoon infections were likely associated with morbidity and mortality in these owls. A second parasite, Haemoproteus lineage hSTVAR01, was also identified in an owl from Louisiana. This is the first identification of Leucocytozoon lineages that have been associated with mortality in young great horned owls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports
StatePublished - May 1 2018



  • Bubo virginianus
  • California
  • great horned owl
  • Haemoproteus
  • Leucocytozoon
  • Louisiana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)

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