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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the effects of transfusion of Rhodococcus equi hyperimmune plasma (REHIP) on serum concentrations of complement component 1q (C1q) and to examine the association of serum C1q and anti-rhodococcal antibodies of newborn foals with subsequent development of rhodococcal pneumonia.

ANIMALS/SAMPLES

Foals (n = 205) from 2 Thoroughbred breeding farms in New York transfused with REHIP between January 1, 2022, and December 1, 2022.

PROCEDURES

Blood was collected immediately before transfusion with REHIP and again from the contralateral vein immediately after transfusion. Foals were followed through weaning for clinical and ultrasonographic evidence of rhodococcal pneumonia. Serum samples were tested by ELISA for concentrations of C1q and for activity of IgG1 and IgG4/7 recognizing the virulence-associated protein A (VapA) of R equi. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between rhodococcal pneumonia and levels of C1q and anti-VapA IgG1 and IgG4/7.

RESULTS

REHIP significantly decreased C1q concentrations immediately after transfusion. Accounting for effects of farm and birth month, estimated odds of pneumonia were 2.1-fold (P = .0330) higher for foals with pretransfusion C1q concentrations less than or equal to the population median and 3.3-fold (P = .0051) higher for foals with posttransfusion IgG1 activity in the lower quartile.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Both C1q and IgG appear to contribute to protection against R equi, and IgG1 appears to be especially important. Increasing IgG1 concentrations targeting rhodococcal proteins in REHIP or serum of foals might improve protection against R equi foal pneumonia.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify protective equine rotavirus group A (ERVA) VP8 epitopes and demonstrate that immunizing hens with synthetic peptides based on these epitopes would yield high-titered, neutralizing egg yolk antibodies for potential application in foals.

ANIMALS

26 rotavirus-positive, client-owned foals were included in the study. Five white leghorn hens were used for antibody production.

METHODS

Chicken antibodies were raised against 3 synthetic epitope peptides from the VP8 protein of the common ERVA P-type, P4[12] using CD40-targeted streptavidin-peptide complexes. Antipeptide serum- and egg yolk antibodies were subject to ELISA and in vitro virus neutralization assays to evaluate binding and neutralization activities. Lyophilized anti-VP8 egg yolk antibodies were orally administered (30 g; q 24 h for 5 days) to foals with rotaviral diarrhea. Physical examinations were performed daily. The duration of diarrhea and any adverse effects were recorded.

RESULTS

CD40-targeted vaccination of hens generated high titers of anti-VP8 serum and egg yolk antibodies after just 3 immunizations. These antibodies prevented in vitro infection of ERVA with titers of 128 in the serum and 94.5 in the yolk. Oral administration (30 g; q 24 h for 5 days) of lyophilized hyperimmune egg yolk to foals with rotaviral diarrhea did not reveal any adverse effects of the treatment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This study demonstrated that antibodies raised against neutralizing epitopes of the ERVA VP8 protein could prevent ERVA infection in vitro. Based on these results and previous work in other animals, in vivo evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy of anti-VP8 egg yolk antibodies is warranted.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research