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Vet Parasitol. 2003 Apr 2;113(1):7-18.

Biology of Cryptosporidium parvum in pigs: from weaning to market.

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  • 1Gastrointestinal Research Group, University of Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1.


Cryptosporidium parvum is commonly identified as infecting domestic livestock and humans. Prevalence of C. parvum in pigs has been reported, however, the duration and infection pattern of naturally acquired Cryptosporidium infections in pigs has not been reported. This study was undertaken to investigate the age of oocyst shedding and duration of natural Cryptosporidium parvum infections in pigs from weaning to market weight. Fecal samples were collected from weaned Yorkshire-Landrace piglets (n=33) twice per week until Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected. Upon oocyst detection, fecal samples were collected three times per week and pigs were monitored throughout the study for diarrhea and examined after concentration and immunofluroescent staining. Cryptosporidium isolates were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction to amplify the HSP70 gene which was subsequently sequence analyzed. All 33 pigs shed oocysts some time during the study. The mean age of initial oocyst detection was 45.2 days post-weaning with the mean duration of infection 28.7 days. Mean number of Cryptosporidium oocysts was low and declined to zero prior to study completion. Episodes of diarrhea were not associated with oocyst excretion. Genetic sequences were obtained for 10 of the pigs. All of the 10 isolates aligned as the Cryptosporidium parvum 'pig' genotype. This study demonstrates that the age and duration of oocyst shedding in pigs infected with C. parvum porcine genotype is different from other livestock species.

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