Coccidiosis in a Chukar
History: The flock is healthy in the brooder house, but 3-4 weeks after being turned out 2-5% of the birds get weak, thin, and listless.
Gross Lesions: The two birds were in good body condition with no pectoral muscle atrophy. No lesions of any significance were found.
Small intestine: There are abundant intracellular coccidia in varying stages of development in the enterocytes of multiple small intestinal sections. There is also segmental enterocyte necrosis with villous blunting in several sections of small intestine. In some sections coccidian oocytes are seen in the lumen of the small intestine among sloughed epithelial cells and necrotic debris.
Small Intestine: Villous enterocyte necrosis and villous blunting, severe, segmental with intralesional intracellular coccidia
We considered these birds to be in the early stages of coccidiosis, since there was no obvious weight loss, diarrhea or enteritis. The infection was localized to small sections of the small intestine, but was severe in those sections.
Coccidiosis in Chukars can be caused by Eimeria legionensis.
Life cycle of Eimeria: