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Objective

To determine seroprevalence of Sarcocystis neurona-specific antibodies in a population of horses residing in Chester County, Pa.

Design

Prevalence survey.

Sample Population

117 serum samples from selected members of a population of 580 Thoroughbred horses.

Procedure

Serum was analyzed for antibodies to Sarcocystic neurona, using a western blot. Information regarding age, sex, and housing of horse was obtained by questionnaire. Data were analyzed, using multivariable logistic regression.

Results

Seroprevalence was 45.3% (95% CI, 36.3 to 54.3%). A relationship was not found between seroprevalence and sex of horse. Seroprevalence was greater in older horses (logistic regression; P = 0.16).

Clinical Implications

High seroprevalence of antibodies to S neurona and the lack of neurologic deficits among horses sampled indicate that positive results of serologic examination alone are of limited value for diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. Clinical signs consistent with the disease are the most important consideration in accurate diagnosis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:517–518)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective—

To determine the clinical findings, course of treatment, and long-term outcome of horses on a farm in central Kentucky during an epizootic of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM).

Design—

Cohort study.

Animals—

21 horses on a farm in central Kentucky, 12 of which developed clinical signs of EPM.

Procedure—

Horses on the farm were serially examined for signs of neurologic disease and serum and CSF antibodies to Sarcocystis neurona. Horses were considered to have EPM if they had neurologic signs and positive test results for antibodies to S neurona in CSF. Blood values were monitored for evidence of abnormalities resulting from long-term pyrimethamine and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole administration. Physical, neurologic, and fetal necropsy examinations were performed as needed. Horses were treated for EPM until they had negative test results for CSF antibodies to S neurona.

Results—

Of 21 horses on the farm, 12 had EPM over the course of 6 months. The duration of treatment ranged from 45 to 211 days, excluding 1 horse that persistently had CSF antibodies to S neurona. Adverse effects from pyrimethamine and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole administration included transient fever, anorexia, and depression (n = 2); acute worsening of ataxia (2); mild anemia (4); and abortions (3).

Clinical Implications—

EPM may develop as an epizootic. In the horses of this report, subtle clinical signs that were originally considered unimportant ultimately progressed to obvious neurologic signs. Adverse effects associated with EPM treatment included worsening of neurologic signs, anemia, abortion, and leukopenic and febrile episodes. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:923–927)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

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.

Design

Prevalence survey.

Sample Population

Serum samples from 334 horses systematically selected by practicing veterinarians.

Procedure

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.

Results

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

Objective

To determine the seroprevalence of serum antibodies to Sarcocystis neurona in horses residing in Ohio.

Design

Prevalence survey.

Sample Population

Serum from samples from 1,056 horses. Serum was collected on every 36th sample submitted to the Ohio State Diagnostic Laboratory for testing for equine infectious anemia.

Procedure

Serum was frozen at −80 C and analyzed for antibodies to S neurona, using a western blot. Information regarding blood sample collection, age, breed, sex, and geographic location was recorded for each horse. Data were analyzed, using multivariable logistic regression.

Results

Horses of 37 breeds from 81 of Ohio's 88 counties were included in the study population. There were 481 females, 133 males, and 442 geldings ranging in age from 3 months to 27 years; > 48% were < 5.6 years old. More than 53% of samples were seropositive for antibodies to S neurona. A gender or breed effect on seroprevalence was not identified. There was a significant effect of age (P ≤ 0.0001; with older horses more likely to be affected), and of location (statistical and extension districts; P = 0.02 and P = 0.03, respectively) on seroprevalence. Location effects appeared to be correlated to the number of days with temperatures below freezing (P < 0.05).

Clinical Implications

The high seroprevalence of antibodies to S neurona found in the sample population emphasizes the importance of examining CSF for S neurona-specific antibodies when establishing a diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:519–524)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association