For detection of chronic or innaparent phases.
- Additional information: Diagnosis of Equine Piroplasmosis
- 5 mL - blood - serum tube
- 2 to 5 working days
What is Piroplasmosis?
- Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is a tick-borne disease of horses caused by the intraerytrocytic protozoan parasites Babesia caballi and Theileria equi of the Order Piroplasmida.
- This agent does not survive outside its hosts and can only be transmitted through a tick vector, therefore, parameters associated with resistance to physical and chemical actions (i.e. temperature, chemical/disinfectants, and environmental survival) are not meaningful.
- Infected animals may remain carriers of these blood parasites for long periods and act as sources of infection for other ticks.
- The parasites occur in southern Europe, Asia, countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa, Cuba, South and Central America, and certain parts of the southern United States of America.
- T. equi has also been reported from Australia (but, apparently never established itself in this region), and is now believed to have a wider general distribution than B. caballi.
- Incubation period of equine piroplasmosis associated with T. equi 12 to 19 days and approximately 10 to 30 days when caused by B. caballi.
- The clinical signs of equine piroplasmosis are often nonspecific, and the disease can easily be confused with other similar haemolytic conditions presenting fever, anemia and jaundice.
- T. equi tends to cause more severe disease than B. caballi.
- Piroplasmosis can occur in per-acute, acute, subacute and chronic forms.
- Per-acute form - rare form of disease with only clinical observation being moribund or dead animals
- Acute form - most common form of disease cases, characterised by fever that usually exceeds 40°C, reduced appetite and malaise, elevated respiratory and pulse rates, congestion of mucous membranes. Production of a dark red urine; faecal balls that are smaller and drier than normal. Affected animals may appear unthrifty; anaemic and/or icteric
- Subacute form - similar to acute form but accompanied by weight loss in affected animals and intermittent fever. Mucous membranes vary from pale pink to pink, or pale yellow to bright yellow; petechiae and/or ecchymoses may also be visible on the mucous membranes. Normal bowel movements may be slightly depressed and the animals may show signs of mild colic.
- Chronic form - chronic cases usually present nonspecific clinical signs such as mild inappetence, poor performance and a drop in body mass. Documented case fatality rates vary from 10–50%. Most animals in endemic areas survive infection.
- Babesia caballi sporozoites invade red blood cells (RBCs) and transform into trophozoites which grow and divide into two round, oval or pear-shaped merozoites which, in turn, are capable of infecting new RBCs and the division process is then repeated.
- B. caballi can be found in various organs of tick vectors and do transmit transovarially from egg to larva
- Theileria equi sporozoites inoculated into horses via a tick bite invade the lymphocytes and these intralymphocytic forms undergo development and eventually form Theileria-like schizonts; merozoites released from these schizonts invade red blood cells (RBCs) and transform into trophozoites which grow and divide into pear-shaped tetrad (‘Maltese cross’) merozoites.
- T. equi develop in salivary glands of tick vector and not found in other tick organs; not transmitted transovarially from egg to larva. Transmission is also possible through mechanical vectors contaminated by infected blood (e.g. contaminated needles).
- Sanitary prophylaxis - EP is most commonly introduced into an area by means of carrier animals or infected ticks; thus, movement of equids requires testing; reducing exposure of equids to ticks; repellents, acaricides and regular inspection; animals and premises; control and eradication of the tick vector; including removal of nearby vegetation that could harbour ticks; any detected EP-positive animals should be quarantined from surrounding horses and vectors; special care in possible mechanical infection of horses with contaminated blood.
- Medical prophylaxis - no biological products are available currently; antiprotozoal agents only temporarily clear equi from carriers