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Objective—To test horses for serologic evidence of an association between vesiviral antibodies and abortion.

Sample Population—Sera from 141 horses.

Procedures—2 experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 comprised sera obtained in 2001 and 2002 from 3 groups of horses (58 mares from farms with a history of abortion problems, 25 mares between 3 and 13 years of age with unknown reproductive histories that were sold at auction [breeding-age control mares], and 29 mixed-age males and yearling females sold at auction [negative control population]). Experiment 2 comprised sera from 3 groups of pregnant mares (10 pregnant mares fed Eastern tent caterpillars [ETCs], 9 pregnant mares fed ETC frass only, and 10 pregnant control mares). Sera were analyzed for antibodies against vesivirus by use of a validated recombinant vesivirusspecific peptide antigen in an indirect ELISA.

Results—For experiment 1, 37 of 58 (63.8%) mares from farms with abortion problems were seropositive for vesivirus antibodies, whereas 10 of 25 (40%) breeding-age control mares were seropositive. All 29 mixed-age males and yearling females were seronegative for vesivirus antibodies. For experiment 2, 17 of 29 mares aborted (some from each group). Seropositive status for vesivirus antibodies increased from 47.1% (8/17) to 88.2% (15/17) for the pregnant mares that aborted during the experiment.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Significant association was detected between seropositive status for vesivirus and abortion in mares; consequently, vesivirus appears to be a pathogenic virus associated with abortion in mares. These data support adding vesivirus antibody testing into diagnostic screening to determine the cause for abortion in mares.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To examine sera obtained from dairy and beef cattle to detect antibodies against vesivirus and compare seroprevalence among cattle within the sample population.

Sample Population—Cattle sera from 8 western states and Maryland submitted to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory during 1999 and 2000.

Procedure—Sera were analyzed for vesivirus-specific antibodies by use of a recombinant vesivirus–San Miguel sea lion virus serotype 5–capsid peptide antigen in an indirect ELISA.

Results—Overall, 693 sera were tested and 105 (15.2%) had positive results. Seropositive cattle were from 7 states (all cattle from Montana and Maryland 10 and 4, respectively were seronegative). Overall seroprevalence for antivesivirus antibody in herds ranged between 0% and 80% (median, 14%). Higher antibody prevalence was significantly associated with older age, dairy rather than beef cattle, and reasons for submission. Logistic regression of factors (abortion, respiratory tract disease, and all other reasons for sample submission) revealed that older age and other reasons were independently associated with higher seroprevalence. Higher seropositive optical density values for the ELISA were observed among older cattle and cattle that aborted, compared with values for cattle with respiratory tract disease or other reasons for submission.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This laboratory-based surveillance sample provided a point estimate of seroprevalence against vesivirus among cattle in 9 US states. This suggests that vesivirus infection is widespread with high prevalence in some herds. Risk factors associated with vesivirus seroprevalence in beef and dairy cattle should be confirmed in population-based studies.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research