Moving reptiles?  Use our snake and lizard quarantine PCR panel to avoid spreading contagious agents.

Ruminating about hoofstock issues?  Try our ruminant fecal screening PCR panel - tests for most common GI pathogens in wild & domestic ruminants.

Our Rodent Infestation PCR Panel tests for 5 common pathogens found in rodent-contaminated facilities.

In over your head? Try our waterborne pathogens PCR panel - detection of 7 different environmental pathogens by real time PCR.

Something fishy going on in your tanks? Try our new Zebrafish screening PCR panel - tests for 6 different pathogen categories from one easy-to-collect sample.

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Zoologix performs environmental, zoo, wildlife and aquatic PCR tests for...

Aeromonas hydrophila

African swine fever

Aleutian disease

Amphibian panel

Anisakis worms



Bacillus species

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Baylisascaris procyonis

Borna virus

Borrelia burgdorferi



Canine circovirus

Canine distemper

Canine parvovirus

Capillaria xenopodis


Chlamydophila pneumoniae

Chytrid fungus

Citrobacter freundii

Classical swine fever





Coxiella burnetii



Cryptosporidium serpentis

Cryptosporidium varanii (formerly saurophilum)

Delftia acidovorans

E. coli O157:H7

E. coli panel



Enterobacter cloacae


Epizootic hemorrhagic disease

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)

Feline panleukopenia

Ferret respiratory enteric coronavirus

Francisella tularensis




Hepatitis E

Herring worms


Influenza type A

Influenza type B

Japanese encephalitis

Johne's disease

Kangaroo herpesviruses


Lawsonia intracellularis




Listeria monocytogenes

Lizard quarantine panel

Lyme disease

Macropodid (kangaroo) herpesviruses


Mink enteritis virus


Mycobacteria in mammals, amphibians and fish

Mycoplasma mustelae

Mycoplasma species

Neospora caninum

Nipah virus

Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola

Pasteurella multocida

Pentastomid worms

Plasmodium species

Porcine cytomegalovirus

Porcine lymphotropic herpesvirus

Porcine parvovirus

Pseudocapillaria tomentosa

Pseudocapillaroides xenopi

Pseudoloma neurophilia


Pseudoterranova worms

Q fever


Raillietiella orientalis


Reovirus screen


Rift Valley fever



Sarcocystis neurona

Snake fungal disease

Snake quarantine panel

Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

St. Louis encephalitis

Strep pneumoniae

Streptococcus pyogenes

Swine vesicular disease

Tongue worms

Toxoplasma gondii

Treponema pallidum


Trypanosoma cruzi

Trypanosoma evansi


Turtle fraservirus


Valley Fever

Vesicular stomatitis


West Nile virus

White nose syndrome

Yersinia enterocolitica

Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

Cryptosporidium PCR test
environmental, wildlife and zoo assay data sheet


Test codes:

P0008 - Ultrasensitive qualitative screen for Cryptosporidium by real time polymerase chain reaction. This screen detects but does not differentiate many Cryptosporidium species.

Test P0008 is included in P0041 - waterborne pathogens screening panel and in P0047 - ruminant fecal screening panel

X0033 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Cryptosporidium serpentis by real time polymerase chain reaction.

X0034 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Cryptosporidium varanii (formerly Cryptosporidium saurophilum) by real time polymerase chain reaction.

Tests X0033 and X0034 are included in P0052 - snake and lizard quarantine PCR panel


Cryptosporidium species are parasitic protozoans that are transmitted by multiple routes; the animal host range is diverse. All Cryptosporidium species have tiny (typically measuring only 4-8 um in diameter), thick-walled oocysts which are passed in the host’s feces and can remain infective in the environment for months. These oocysts are extremely resistant to temperature extremes and disinfectants. As with most protozoan infections, this parasite can be acquired by exposure to sporulated oocysts in contaminated food, water, or unhygienic enclosures.

Several of the 13+ species in the Cryptosporidium genus have been confirmed as causative agents of human disease. The following Cryptosporidium species are currently accepted, on the basis of host specificity, pathogenesis, morphology and genotyping:

Infecting mammals: Cryptosporidium hominis, C. parvum, C. wrairi, C. felis, C. canis, C. andersoni, C. muris and C. ubiquitum

Infecting birds: C. baileyi, C. meleagridis and C. galli

Infecting reptiles: C. serpentis and C. varanii (formerly C. saurophilum)

Infecting fish: C. molnari

Phylogenetic analyses have been largely based on sequencing of the small subunit rRNA gene (18S rRNA), the hsp 70 gene, or other housekeeping or structural genes. These analyses reveal that the various Cryptosporidium species interact in complex ways with hosts. For example, the specific host of C. felis is cats, but this species has also been isolated from a cow, while C. andersoni is morphologically close to C. muris but infects cattle rather than mice. And C. parvum includes a complex of subspecies that specifically infect cattle, pigs, kangaroos, ferrets or monkeys.

With the advance of molecular techniques, knowledge of the epidemiology of human cryptosporidiosis has significantly improved. It has been shown that the vast majority of human cases are caused by C. hominis (synonymous with C. parvum genotype 1) and C. parvum (synonymous with C. parvum genotype 2). Other species, including C. meleagridis, C. felis, C. canis and C. muris can also infect humans and are linked to clinical disease, not only in immunocompromised patients but also in immunocompetent people.

Cryptosporidium in reptiles:

Cryptosporidiosis is a well-known gastrointestinal disease of snakes and lizards. Two cryptosporidian species, Cryptosporidium serpentis and Cryptosporidium varanii (known until recently as Cryptosporidium saurophilum), are associated with disease of the gastrointestinal tract in snakes and lizards.

Other cryptosporidium species, such as C. parvum and C. tyzerri, have been described in snakes and lizards but they are thought to be associated with ingested prey and are not considered to be disease-causing for snakes and lizards. These species are sometimes referred to as “pass-through Crypto” in reptiles.

Cryptosporidium serpentis
C. serpentis is a gastric parasite found mainly in snakes, and is frequently associated with prominent clinical signs like anorexia, postprandial regurgitation, lethargy, midbody swelling, and weight loss, while C. serpentis infections in lizards are usually asymptomatic. Infection by C. serpentis is one of the most important health concerns in snakes. The infection is characterized by chronic clinical or subclinical symptoms. The presence of hypertrophic gastritis, food regurgitation, progressive weight loss, mortality, and intermittent or continuous shedding of oocysts in the feces are some of the possible outcomes of infection. There is no evidence that C. serpentis is transmissible to humans or other mammals.

Although the life cycle of C. serpentis is not completely understood, it is known that there are two infective stages of the parasite. The first is a thick-walled oocyst which contains four sporozoites that are released when the oocyst is ingested by a snake. It is believed that the ingested oocysts invade a small number of endothelial cells lining the stomach wall.  In these endothelial cells, the parasites undergo asexual multiplication (schizogony or merogony) and then sexual multiplication (gametogony), producing microgamonts and macrogamonts. Upon fertilization of the macrogamonts by the microgametes, oocysts develop and sporulate in the infected host. Two different types of oocysts are produced: the thick-walled, which is commonly excreted by the host after sporogony, and the thin-walled oocyst, which is primarily involved in autoinfection.

Cryptosporidium varanii
C. varanii is an intestinal parasite found mainly in lizards and sometimes in snakes.  It can cause anorexia, progressive weight loss, abdominal swelling and high mortality, particularly in juvenile lizards. There is no evidence that C. varanii is transmissible to humans or other mammals, but the potential for human infection by C. varanii, especially in immune-compromised patients, cannot be excluded at this time.

Recent genetic analysis of C. varanii at the 18S rRNA and actin loci shows that it is genetically identical to C. saurophilum. Since C. varanii was described prior to C. saurophilum, its name takes precedence over C. saurophilum and therefore C. saurophilum is now considered a junior synonym of C. varanii.

Similar to other cryptosporidia, C. varanii is transmitted mainly through fecal-oral route. Infected reptiles can be subclinical so it is hard to identify and isolate potential carriers based on symptoms. The excretion of oocysts in feces is intermittent so that testing may need to be repeated several times in order to detect the oocysts. A systematic screening program to identify infected reptiles, and surveillance of enclosures, can contribute to ensuring a pathogen-free colony of reptiles, and to the safety of pet owners.


Because of their small size, it is very hard to detect Cryptosporidium oocysts by microscopic examination, so diagnosis of cryptosporidial infection by fecal examination has low sensitivity and is not suitable to differentiate cryptosporidial species. Immunofluorescence detection of Cryptosporidium lacks the specificity to identify the species. However, molecular detection by polymerase chain reaction is a highly sensitive, specific and rapid method to identify the cryptosporidial species present (Pedraza-Diaz et al., 2009; da Silva et al., 2014).

Since oocysts are only intermittently shed, multiple samples taken at intervals can increase the likelihood of detection.


  • Help confirm the disease causing agent
  • Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical diagnosis of Cryptosporidium infection.
  • Help ensure that animal groups and facilities are free of Cryptosporidium species
  • Early prevention of spread of these protozoa
  • Minimize human exposure to these protozoa

Thomas, A.L. and Chalmers, R.M. (2003) Investigation of the range of Cryptosporidium species detected by commercially available antibody-based tests. Proceedings of the Health Protection Agency Inaugural Conference, Warwick, September.

Pedraza-Díaz, S., Ortega-Mora, L.M., Carrión, B.A., Navarro, V. and Gómez-Bautista, M. (2009) Molecular characterisation of Cryptosporidium isolates from pet reptiles. Vet. Parasitol. 160:204-210.

da Silva, D.C., Paiva, P.R., Nakamura, A.A., Homem, C.G., de Souza, M.S., Grego, K.F. and  Meireles, M.V. (2014) The detection of Cryptosporidium serpentis in snake fecal samples by real-time PCR. Vet. Parasitol. 204:134-138.

Specimen requirements: 0.2 ml feces, or rectal swab, or 0.2 ml cloacal wash, or 0.2 ml gastric lavage, or swab of mucous adhered to regurgitated prey items; or 0.2 ml fresh, frozen or fixed gastric or intestinal tissue.

Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.

For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen in transit. See shipping instructions for more information

Turnaround time: 2 business days

Methodology: Qualitative real time PCR

Normal range: Nondetected

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