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  • Author or Editor: Jennifer K. Morrow x
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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether antibodies against Sarcocystis neurona could be detected in CSF from clinically normal neonatal (2 to 7 days old) and young (2 to 3 months old) foals.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—15 clinically normal neonatal Thoroughbred foals.

Procedure—Serum and CSF samples were obtained from foals at 2 to 7 days of age and tested for antibodies against S neurona by means of western blotting. Serum samples from the mares were also tested for antibodies against S neurona. Additional CSF and blood samples were obtained from 5 foals between 13 and 41 days after birth and between 62 and 90 days after birth.

Results—Antibodies against S neurona were detected in serum from 13 mares and their foals; antibodies against S neurona were detected in CSF from 12 of these 13 foals. Degree of immunoreactivity in serum and CSF decreased over time, and antibodies against S neurona were no longer detected in CSF from 2 foals 83 and 84 days after birth. However, antibodies could still be detected in CSF from the other 3 foals between 62 and 90 days after birth.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate that antibodies against S neurona can be detected in CSF from clinically normal neonatal (2 to 7 days old) foals born to seropositive mares. This suggests that western blotting of CSF cannot be reliably used to diagnose equine protozoal myeloencephalitis in foals < 3 months of age born to seropositive mares. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:208–211)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine sensitivity and specificity of western blot testing (WBT) of CSF and serum for diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) in horses with and without neurologic abnormalities.

Design—Prospective investigation.

Animals—65 horses with and 169 horses without neurologic abnormalities.

Procedure—CSF and serum from horses submitted for necropsy were tested for Sarcocystis neuronaspecific antibody with a WBT. Results of postmortem examination were used as the gold standard against which results of the WBT were compared.

Results—Sensitivity of WBT of CSF was 87% for horses with and 88% for horses without neurologic abnormalities. Specificity of WBT of CSF was 44% for horses with and 60% for horses without neurologic abnormalities. Regardless of whether horses did or did not have neurologic abnormalities, sensitivity and specificity of WBT of serum were not significantly different from values for WBT of CSF. Ninety-four horses without EPM had histologic evidence of slight CNS inflammation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The low specificity of WBT of CSF indicated that it is inappropriate to diagnose EPM on the basis of a positive test result alone because of the possibility of false-positive test results. The high sensitivity, however, means that a negative result is useful in ruling out EPM. There was no advantage in testing CSF versus serum in horses without neurologic abnormalities. Slight CNS inflammation was common in horses with and without S neurona-specific antibodies in the CSF and should not be considered an indication of CNS infection with S neurona. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1007–1013)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association