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To determine seroprevalence of antibodies to Sarcocystis neurona in neurologically normal horses residing in 4 regions of Oregon and to describe the effects of age, gender, breed, and housing on seroprevalence within each region.


Prevalence survey.

Sample Population

Serum samples from 334 horses systematically selected by practicing veterinarians.


Antibodies to S neurona were measured in sera, using a western blot. Information including age, gender, breed, housing, geographic location, and duration of residence was obtained for each horse. Data were analyzed, using descriptive statistics.


45% (149/334) of horses evaluated were seropositive for antibodies to S neurona with significant differences in the percentage of seropositive horses from different regions of the state. Seroprevalances of antibodies to S neurona in horses in regions I and II, west of the Cascade Range, were 65 and 60%, respectively; whereas seroprevalances in central and eastern Oregon, regions III and IV, were 43 and 22%, respectively. Seroprevalence consistently increased with age of horse for each region.

Gender, breed, and housing were not associated with significant differences in seroprevalence of antibodies to S neurona in the overall sample population, or in comparisons of samples obtained from horses within a particular region, or among samples obtained from horses residing in different regions.

Clinical Implications

The high seroprevalence of antibodies to S neurona in neurologically normal horses indicates that analysis of serum alone would not be useful for definitive diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis in horses in Oregon. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:525–527)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association