Theileria (Babesia) equi and Babesia caballi Infections in Horses in Galicia, Spain
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The control of equine piroplasmosis is becoming increasingly important to maintain the international market open to the horse industry. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the occurrence of equine piroplasmosis (Theileria equi and Babesia caballi) in Galicia, north-west Spain, and to compare haematological and serum biochemistry parameters between non-parasitaemic horses and horses parasitaemic with T. equi and B. caballi. Sixty serum samples (control group) were taken from healthy horses pastured on two farms, and examined for evidence of equine T. equi and B. caballi infection by indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). Of the 60 samples, 24 (40%) and 17 (28.3%) samples were positive for T. equi and B. caballi, respectively. Twelve (20%) samples were positive for both parasites. Haematology and serum biochemistry were compared between controls and a series of 36 horses clinically affected by T. equi (25) or B. caballi (11). Compared with the healthy group, there was a 43% and 37% decrease in the haematocrit for T. equi and B. caballi infection, respectively. Parasitaemic horses presented an intense anaemia and serum biochemistry signs of liver damage. The anaemia was more severe in T. equi-infected than in B. caballi-infected horses. Our results suggest that equine piroplasmosis is widespread in the region and is a cause for concern.
KeywordsBabesia caballi haematology horse serum biochemistry Theileria equi
indirect fluorescent antibody test
red blood cell count
red cell distribution width
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