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  • Author or Editor: Gereon Schares x
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Objective—To describe the clinical, endoscopic, and serologic features of an outbreak of besnoitiosis in 2 donkey operations in northeastern Pennsylvania and to report the outcome of attempted treatment of 1 naturally infected individual.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—29 donkeys (Equus asinus) in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Procedures—Donkeys were examined for lesions suggestive of besnoitiosis in an outbreak investigation. Information was collected regarding the history and signalment of animals on each premises. Rhinolaryngoscopy was performed to identify nasopharyngeal and laryngeal lesions. Serum samples were collected for immunofluorescent antibody testing and immunoblotting for Besnoitia spp. Skin biopsy samples were obtained from 8 animals with lesions suggestive of besnoitiosis for histologic examination. Quantitative real-time PCR assay for Besnoitia spp was performed on tissue samples from 5 animals.

Results—Besnoitiosis was confirmed in 6 of the 8 suspected cases. The most common lesion site was the nares, followed by the skin and sclera. Donkeys with clinical signs of disease had higher serum antibody titers and tested positive for a greater number of immunoblot bands than did donkeys without clinical signs of disease. All animals evaluated by PCR assay tested positive. Putative risk factors for disease included age and sex. Ponazuril was not effective at treating besnoitiosis in a naturally infected donkey.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Knowledge of clinical and serologic features of besnoitiosis in donkeys will assist clinicians in the diagnosis and prevention of this disease in donkey populations. Besnoitiosis may be an emerging disease of donkeys in the United States.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association