Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) as potential spreaders of Sarcocystis species

17. 6. 2024

The aim of the new study led by Ondřej Máca was to determine the prevalence and identify the species of Sarcocystis parasites found in wild red foxes and raccoon dogs collected from nine regions of the Czech Republic.

By microscopic examination, 75 of 197 foxes (38.1%) and 2 of 3 raccoon dogs (66.7%) were positive for the studied protozoan Sarcocystis spp. Subsequent molecular characterization of 50 sporocyst isolates using species-specific primers led to the identification of five species in the common fox: S. arieticanis, S. capracanis, S. cruzi, S. miescheriana and S. tenella, while the PCR was negative in a single dog. The highest intraspecific variation was found in S. miescheriana, while S. tenella was the most abundant. 

This is the first work to demonstrate the potential role of the common fox as a sarcocyst vector also on livestock in the Czech Republic.

More detailed results can be found directly in the publication. For more interesting information on Sarcocystis species diversity, please visit the science and research section.


Ing. Ondřej Máca, Ph.D.
+420 770 119 013

Photo gallery

Map of the Czech Republic showing the sampling sites and regions (outlined areas) where red foxes (circles) and raccoon dogs (stars) were collected. Negative samples are represented in black color, while positive in red.