This online CPD course has been designed to provide easy access to up-to-date scientific information on besnoitiosis. The course has been developed by internationally recognized scientist Prof. WU Basso, Head of the Veterinary Parasitology Diagnostic Section, European Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology, Institute of Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Switzerland.

This is an excellent well-illustrated course with much new information including different clinical forms and pathology, pros and cons of available diagnostic techniques, differences in the life cycles and epidemiology from an African and European perspective and control / management of besnoitiosis. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declared bovine besnoitiosis - a re-emerging disease in Europe.

Who Should Enrol

Veterinary, para-veterinary and allied animal and human health professionals and students.

Course Design

Online CPD course

Course Highlights

Besnoitia has a fairly wide host range including cattle, goats, horses, donkeys, reindeer, caribou, roe deer, blue wildebeest, impala, and zebra. Bovine besnoitiosis is a relatively common disease of cattle in Africa and in some countries in Europe and Asia. It is a disease of domestic and wild animals caused by several species within the genus Besnoitia. To date, 10 Besnoitia spp. have been identified. Among the Besnoitia spp. affecting ungulates: B. besnoiti (cattle and other bovids), B. caprae (goats), B. tarandi (reindeer) and B. bennetti (equids) have the greatest significance.

The domestic cat is the definitive host of four of the ten described Besnoitia spp. It is suspected that B. besnoiti, like other cyst-forming coccidia, has an indirect life cycle with a carnivore as a definitive host, and domestic and wild bovids (e.g. antelope) playing the role of intermediate hosts. However, the life cycle of B. besnoiti needs further elucidation. 

Besnoitia in blue wildebeest and impala is morphologically and immunogenically similar to B. besnoiti,

Two clinical syndromes are recognized; an acute febrile “anasarca” stage, and a chronic “scleroderma” stage. Bulls become aspermatogenic due to severe orchitis, followed by uni- or bilateral testicular atrophy and induration in the chronic disease.

The learner will be able to study and complete the course material and online test at his/her own pace.

Course Content

Module 1.        Introduction: Coccidiosis (read text)

Module 2.        Besnoitiosis: Introduction, Aetiology/Life cycle, Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Clinical signs, Pathology, Diagnosis, Differential Diagnosis and Control (2 CPD points)

Learning Outcomes

After completion of the course the learner will have a sound knowledge of besnoitiosis and will be able to:

  • understand and discuss the most important features of the aetiology/life cycle, epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical signs, pathology, diagnosis, differential diagnosis and control of besnoitiosis.
  • point out the differences and similarities in the life cycle/epidemiology of besnoitiosis from an African and European perspective. 
  • recognise clinically the acute febrile “anasarca” stage, and the chronic “scleroderma” stage.
  • discuss how best infections by Besnoitia parasites can be diagnosed and differentiated from infections with other coccidian parasites and other conditions.
  • understand the pros and cons of different diagnostic tests that are available to confirm a diagnosis of besnoitiosis. 
  • understand the best strategies available to control/eradicate besnoitiosis in different ecological settings in Africa and Europe.


Some of the modules will have a multiple-choice test, while others are read for background information.


Module 2: Besnoitiosis

South African Veterinary Council (SAVC)

2 CPD Points



In order to qualify for CPD points, the learner will be required to complete the course and pass the multiple-choice test with 80%.

2.0 CPD Points