Chilomastix bettencorti

Etiology:  Chilomastix bettencorti is a one celled, eukaryotic organism.

Incidence:  Incidence of infection with Chilomastix bettencorti is common.

Transmission: Fecal-oral transmission via ingestion of infective cysts.

Distribution: Chilomastix bettencorti is found in the cecum and colon.

Clinical signs: Clinical signs are not usually observed. These protozoa may proliferate in diarrheic states, however their role as contributors to disease is poorly defined.


Antemortem: Difficult to diagnose antemortem. Wet mounts of fresh fecal material stained with a weak iodine solution may reveal typical lemon-shaped cysts that can be difficult to distinguish from plant material.

Postmortem: Wet mounts of intestinal contents may reveal pear-shaped trophozoites with a spiraling, jerky motion. The spiraling motion will aid in differentiation of Chilomastix trophozoites from trichomonads.

Diagnostic morphology:  Trophozoite: 10-15 µm long, pear- or lemon-shaped with 3 anterior flagella, a round anterior nucleus, a short, sharply pointed tail and a large cytostomal groove.  Cyst: 6-9 µm, lemon-shaped.