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  • Author or Editor: Andrea E. Packham x
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OBJECTIVE To describe the general seroprevalence of anti-Sarcocystis neurona and anti-Neospora hughesi antibodies among healthy equids by use of indirect fluorescent antibody tests and determine potential risk factors for seropositivity.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE Whole blood samples collected from 5,250 equids (1 sample/animal) across 18 states in the United States during October 2013.

PROCEDURES Information regarding potential risk factors (geographic region, breed, primary use, sex, and age) was collected along with the blood samples. For each equid, an indirect fluorescent antibody test was used to determine serum titers of antibody against each of the 2 protozoal parasites. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were created to determine ORs for seropositivity.

RESULTS The overall seroprevalence of anti-S neurona and anti-N hughesi antibodies in the tested equids was 78% and 34%, respectively. Of the equids, 31% were seropositive and 18% were seronegative for antibodies against both parasites. Factors associated with equids being seropositive for anti-S neurona antibodies were residence in the South, warmblood breed, and age > 5 years. Seroprevalence of anti-N hughesi antibodies did not differ among equids in different states across the country, but warmblood breed and age > 5 years were associated with seropositivity.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE With regard to risk factors for S neurona and N hughesi exposure and antibody response among tested equids, older age was not unexpected; however, the influences of warmblood breed and geographic location on seropositivity for anti-S neurona antibody but not for anti-N hughesi antibody deserve further investigation.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To estimate risk of exposure and age at first exposure to Sarcocystis neurona and Neospora hughesi and time to maternal antibody decay in foals.

Animals—484 Thoroughbred and Warmblood foals from 4 farms in California.

Procedure—Serum was collected before and after colostrum ingestion and at 3-month intervals thereafter. Samples were tested by use of the indirect fluorescent antibody test; cutoff titers were ≥ 40 and ≥ 160 for S neurona and N hughesi, respectively.

Results—Risk of exposure to S neurona and N hughesi during the study were 8.2% and 3.1%, respectively. Annual rate of exposure was 3.1% for S neurona and 1.7% for N hughesi. There was a significant difference in the risk of exposure to S neurona among farms but not in the risk of exposure to N hughesi. Median age at first exposure was 1.2 years for S neurona and 0.8 years for N hughesi. Highest prevalence of antibodies against S neurona and N hughesi was 6% and 2.1%, respectively, at a mean age of 1.7 and 1.4 years, respectively. Median time to maternal antibody decay was 96 days for S neurona and 91 days for N hughesi. There were no clinical cases of equine protozoal myeloenchaphlitis (EPM).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Exposure to S neurona and N hughesi was low in foals between birth and 2.5 years of age. Maternally acquired antibodies may cause false-positive results for 3 or 4 months after birth, and EPM was a rare clinical disease in horses ≤ 2.5 years of age. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1047–1052)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To determine whether heifers with naturally acquired congenital exposure to Neospora sp would transmit the infection to their offspring during gestation.


Prospective cohort study.


Neonatal heifers on a dairy with a history of Neospora sp infections were selected for the study on the basis of their serum titers to Neospora sp, as determined by the use of indirect fluorescent antibody testing. Seropositive heifers (n = 25) had titers ≥ 1:5,120 and seronegative heifers (25) had titers ≤ 1:80. All heifers were raised and bred on the dairy, and samples were obtained from heifers and their calves at the time of calving.


Blood samples were tested for Neospora sp antibodies. Histologic evaluations, Neospora sp immunohistochemical examinations. and protozoal culturing were performed on samples obtained from selected offspring (second-generation calves).


Seropositive heifers gave birth to calves with titers ≥ 1:1,280 to Neospora sp. All offspring from seropositive heifers that were necropsied had evidence of Neospora sp infection. All seronegative heifers and their offspring had titers < 1:80 to Neospora sp.

Clinical Implications—

Congenitally acquired Neospora sp infection can persist in clinically normal heifers and be transmitted transplacentally to their offspring. Vertical transmission can be a way by which neosporosis is maintained in herds. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:1169–1172)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association