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Cross-sectional study of serum antibodies against Sarcocystis neurona in cats tested for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii

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  • 1 Population Medicine Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 2 Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 3 Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 4 Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 5 Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 6 Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 7 Population Medicine Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 8 Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Abstract

Objective—To determine apparent seroprevalence of antibodies against Sarcocystis neurona in a population of domestic cats previously tested for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—Serum from 196 domestic cats.

Procedure—Banked serum samples submitted to the Michigan State University Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory for T gondii diagnostic testing were tested for antibodies against S neurona by use of an indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test and a western blot test. Submission records were analyzed to determine descriptive statistics and test for associations between positive results of a test for S neurona and other variables in the data set.

Results—10 of 196 (5%) samples yielded positive results for antibodies against S neurona by use of western blot analysis, whereas 27 samples yielded positive results by use of the IFA. No association was found between S neurona western blot test results and T gondii test results, age, sex, or the reason for T gondii testing. The S neurona IFA titer was positively and significantly associated with positive results of western blot analysis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Domestic cats are not likely to play a substantial role as intermediate hosts in the natural life cycle of S neurona. Results indicate that natural infection of domestic cats may occur, and small animal practitioners should be aware of this fact when evaluating cats with neurologic disease. The S neurona IFA test had lower specificity than western blot analysis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:511–514)