Skip to main content - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government


Looks Bad

Commonly infected wildlife


Is this animal infected?

  • Affected birds have cream-colored cysts longer than they are wide in breast, heart and leg muscle
    • Cysts resemble rice grains and can be 1/4" long
    • Cysts feel gritty when cut with a knife


Can I get it?


How bad can it get?


No known risk to humans

Protect myself and others

  • Scientists recommend that people and pets do not eat heavily infected meat
  • Heavily-infected carcasses are unappetizing
  • Parasites can be killed by cooking

165 °F

Symptoms in humans

  • No known risk to humans

Safe for pets?

  • Not Raw!
    • Carnivores shed eggs in their feces, which then become infectious to birds
    • Pets may play a role in transmission of sarcocystis to birds
Not safe for pets

What causes it?

  • Protozoan parasite called Sarcocystis rileyi
  • Sarcocystis is found around the world in many types of animals, including deer, moose, elk and domestic livestock