Fourteen miniature donkeys (Equus asinus) in a mid-Michigan herd of 38 animals presented with clinical signs of besnoitiosis, including the presence of typical tissue cysts in the ocular sclera, the buccal and nasal mucosa, together with characteristic dermatitis in specific areas of the body. The common histopathological change seen was the presence of many 100–200-μm diameter, thick walled, typical Besnoitia sp. tissue cysts together with a chronic cellular response associated with degenerating cysts. Microscopy of isolated scleral cysts and skin biopsies showed the presence of protozoal organisms consistent in morphology with that of Besnoitia bennetti bradyzoites. Molecular analysis of these parasites indicates that they differ from previously described coccidia, including Besnoitia sp., from rabbits and opossums. Isolated cases of infection with this agent have been reported infrequently in equids; however, this is the first report of an outbreak in a herd of donkeys in the United States.

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