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Evaluation of five commercially available assays and measurement of serum total protein concentration via refractometry for the diagnosis of failure of passive transfer of immunity in foals

Rachel Davis BA1 and Steeve Giguère DVM, PhD, DACVIM2
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  • 1 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.
  • | 2 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

Abstract

Objective—To determine and compare sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and predictive values of measurement of serum total protein concentration by refractometry as well as 5 commercially available kits for the diagnosis of failure of passive transfer (FPT) of immunity in foals.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—65 foals with various medical problems and 35 clinically normal foals.

Procedure—IgG concentration in serum was assessed by use of zinc sulfate turbidity (assay C), glutaraldehyde coagulation (assay D), 2 semiquantitative immunoassays (assays F and G), and a quantitative immunoassay (assay H). Serum total protein concentration was assessed by refractometry. Radial immunodiffusion (assays A and B) was used as the reference method.

Results—For detection of IgG < 400 mg/dL, sensitivity of assay H (100%) was not significantly different from that of assays C, E, and G (88.9%). Specificity of assays H (96.0%) and G (95.8%) was significantly higher than that of assays C (79.4%) and E (78.1%). For detection of IgG < 800 mg/dL, sensitivities of assays H (97.6%), D (92.9%), C (81.0%), and G (81.0%) were significantly higher than that of assay F (52.4%). Specificity of assays F (100%), G (94.7%), and H (82.8%) was significantly higher than that of assays C (56.9%) and D (58.6%). Serum total protein concentration ≤ 4.5 g/dL was suggestive of FPT, whereas values ≥ 6.0 g/dL indicated adequate IgG concentrations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most assays were adequate as initial screening tests. However, their use as a definitive test would result in unnecessary treatment of foals with adequate IgG concentrations. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1640–1645)

Abstract

Objective—To determine and compare sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and predictive values of measurement of serum total protein concentration by refractometry as well as 5 commercially available kits for the diagnosis of failure of passive transfer (FPT) of immunity in foals.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—65 foals with various medical problems and 35 clinically normal foals.

Procedure—IgG concentration in serum was assessed by use of zinc sulfate turbidity (assay C), glutaraldehyde coagulation (assay D), 2 semiquantitative immunoassays (assays F and G), and a quantitative immunoassay (assay H). Serum total protein concentration was assessed by refractometry. Radial immunodiffusion (assays A and B) was used as the reference method.

Results—For detection of IgG < 400 mg/dL, sensitivity of assay H (100%) was not significantly different from that of assays C, E, and G (88.9%). Specificity of assays H (96.0%) and G (95.8%) was significantly higher than that of assays C (79.4%) and E (78.1%). For detection of IgG < 800 mg/dL, sensitivities of assays H (97.6%), D (92.9%), C (81.0%), and G (81.0%) were significantly higher than that of assay F (52.4%). Specificity of assays F (100%), G (94.7%), and H (82.8%) was significantly higher than that of assays C (56.9%) and D (58.6%). Serum total protein concentration ≤ 4.5 g/dL was suggestive of FPT, whereas values ≥ 6.0 g/dL indicated adequate IgG concentrations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most assays were adequate as initial screening tests. However, their use as a definitive test would result in unnecessary treatment of foals with adequate IgG concentrations. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1640–1645)