Etiology: Chilomastix bettencorti is a flagellated protozoan.
Incidence: The incidence of infection is common.
Transmission: Fecal-oral transmission occurs via ingestion of infective cysts.
Distribution: Chilomastix bettencorti is distributed in the cecum and colon.
Clinical signs: No clinical signs have been attributed directly to these organisms. These protozoa may proliferate in diarrheic states, however their role as contributors to disease is poorly defined.
Antemortem: Difficult to diagnose from fecal pellet samples. 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.