Amoebiasis is a significant protozoal disease of reptiles causing nonspecific clinical signs including diarrhea, anorexia, and lethargy. It frequently results in acute death. Investigation of the pathophysiology of amoebiasis in reptiles has been hampered by the inability to accurately identify amoeba to the species level using conventional techniques. This study reviewed reptile medical records from the Wildlife Conservation Society's archives from 1998 to 2017. Amoebae were identified histologically in 54 cases in 31 different species. Of these, amoebiasis was the cause of death in 32 (18 chelonians, 7 lizards, and 7 snakes), a significant co-morbidity in 14 (six chelonians, two lizards, and six snakes), and seen incidentally in eight cases (one chelonian, six lizards, and one snake). Relocation from one enclosure to another was also evaluated and 65% of cases had been moved within 180 days of death (median 46 days). Frozen tissue samples from 19 of these cases were tested via an Entamoeba (genus-specific) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. PCR products were sequenced and Entamoeba species were identified. Six individuals were positive for Entamoeba invadens (three chelonians, two snakes, one lizard), two for Entamoeba ranarum (both snakes), and one for Entamoeba terrapinae (chelonian); the other 10 cases were negative via PCR. Entamoeba ranarum has typically been considered a disease of amphibians with only one report of disease in a snake. Entamoeba terrapinae has only been reported without associated disease in chelonians. These results suggest that amoebiasis is a complicated and nuanced disease of reptiles, and warrants additional study.
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