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Case Description—A 7-year-old Quarter Horse gelding was hospitalized in Ocala, Fla, because of lethargy, fever, anorexia, and swelling of distal aspects of the limbs. A tentative diagnosis of equine piroplasmosis (EP) was made on the basis of examination of a blood smear. The case was reported to the Florida State Veterinarian, and infection with Babesia equi was confirmed. The subsequent investigation included quarantine and testing of potentially exposed horses for B equi and Babesia caballi infections, tick surveillance, and owner-agent interviews.
Clinical Findings—210 horses on 25 premises were tested for infection with EP pathogens. Twenty B equi–infected horses on 7 premises were identified; no horses tested positive for B caballi. Seven horses, including the index case, had clinical findings consistent with EP Dermacentor variabilis was considered the only potential tick vector for B equi collected, and all D variabilis specimens tested negative for Babesia organisms via PCR assay. Results of the epidemiological investigation suggested that B equi was spread by use of shared needles and possibly blood transfusions. All horses that tested positive were involved in nonsanctioned Quarter Horse racing, and management practices were thought to pose substantial risk of transmission of blood-borne pathogens.
Treatment and Outcome—Final outcome of B equi–infected horses was euthanasia, death from undetermined causes, or shipment to a US federal research facility.
Clinical Relevance—This investigation highlights the importance of collaboration between private veterinary practitioners, state veterinary diagnostic laboratories, and regulatory officials in the recognition, containment, and eradication of foreign animal disease.
Objective—To identify risk factors for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) among horses examined at 11 equine referral hospitals.
Animals—183 horses with EPM, 297 horses with neurologic disease other than EPM (neurologic controls), and 168 horses with non-neurologic diseases (non-neurologic controls) examined at 11 equine referral hospitals in the United States.
Procedures—A study data form was completed for all horses. Data were compared between the case group and each of the control groups by means of bivariate and multivariate polytomous logistic regression.
Results—Relative to neurologic control horses, case horses were more likely to be ≥ 2 years old and to have a history of cats residing on the premises. Relative to non-neurologic control horses, case horses were more likely to be used for racing or Western performance.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that cats may play a role in the natural epidemiology of EPM, that the disease is less common among horses < 2 years of age relative to other neurologic diseases, and that horses used for particular types of competition may have an increased risk of developing EPM.