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TDK conference 2015

Babesia caballi and Theileria equi caused infection in Horses diagnosed by PCR technique in Hungary and the description of the infection caused clinical parameters' changes, clinicopathological signs and complications
Apáti-Nagy Glória - year 6
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department and Clinic of Equine Medicine
Supervisors: Balázs Tóth DVM, Nándor Balogh DVM


Equine piroplasmosis is a tick-borne protozoal disease, which may manifest in acute haemolytic anaemia and in its systematic complications. Piroplasmosis is caused by two intracellular protozoa, Babesia caballi and Theileria equi. The progress of the disease can be peracute, acute, subacute or chronic and asymptomic carrier state has also been frequently described, depending on infection rate and the immunological state of the receptive specimen. The disease is endemic in tropical and subtropical regions, however due to global warming, it is presumed to gradually spread around continental climates. The first recorded case in Hungary originate from the 1950s from the region of Hortobágy, although the infection state of the hungarian horses with equine piroplasmosis is still unknown

The purpose of this retrospective study is to identify clinicopathologic (hematologic and serum biochemical) indices of piroplasmosis that could aid in prompt and more effective treatment thus improving prognosis. Potential candidates based on history and clinical signs (fever, icterus) were collected that also undergone PCR testing for piroplasma PCR. The samples were tested for B. caballi and T. equi in a private laboratory between 2013-2015. A total of 13 out of 78 samples were positive for T. equi. None of the specimens tested positive via PCR for B.caballi. Based on PCR results horses were divided into 2 groups. The first group encompassed PCR negative samples, where Babesia or Theileria infection have been suspected but was not confirmed. The second group entailed PCR positives cases. In this research we compared these two group’s clinicopathological parameters.

We analyzed the clinical data of 10 PCR positive horses. The horses were stabled from Pest, Nógrád, Fejér and Bács-Kiskun county. One horse out of 10 died and one horse was euthanized. The haematological and biochemical parameters were analyzed with descriptive analysis, Chi-square test and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney-U test.

We found significant difference in the serum albumin and kreatinin concentration between the two groups, (ALB: p=0,01; KREA: p=0,01) however these parameters were within the reference ranges in all PCR positive cases. Mild elevations of the seum activity of AST, LDH, and CK enzymes were present in many samples although there were no statistically significant differences between the PCR positive and negative groups. (AST: p=0,43; LDH: p=0,22; CK: p=0,38). Categorical data did not reveal any differences between the groups. Not with standing the currently available studies, our research suggests the prevalence of T.equi infection is a rather widespread in Hungary. Despite being non-specific, sudden weight loss and icterus appear to be the leading clinical sign of the disease. Evaluation of haematological and biochemical parameters did not reveal any promising indices in the diagnosis of piroplasmosis.

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