Detection of Theileria equi in spleen and blood of asymptomatic piroplasm carrier horses
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This study aimed to determine whether asymptomatic horses naturally infected with Theileria equi retain infected erythrocytes in the spleen and whether the presence of the hemoparasite in this organ is associated with parasitemia. We collected samples from 25 adult horses without clinical signs of any disease. From each animal, we collected whole blood samples from the jugular vein and a splenic puncture blood sample. All samples were submited to blood cell counts and detection of Theileria or Babesia. DNA extraction and PCR were performed in all samples for identification of piroplasm infection (T. equi and B. caballi). From the 25 horses evaluated for piroplasm detection by PCR, seven horses (28%) were positive in jugular vein blood but negative in splenic blood samples, five horses (20%) were positive in splenic blood samples but negative in jugular vein blood samples, and 13 horses (52%) were positive in both jugular vein and splenic blood samples. The hematological evaluation revealed anemia in 13 of 25 (52%) infected horses, lymphopenia in five (20%), neutrophilia in two (8%), neutropenia in one (4%), and thrombocytopenia in one (4%) infected horse. The present study demonstrated that several (20%) of the asymptomatic piroplasm carrier horses did not show parasitemia, but show infected erythrocytes in the spleen.
KeywordsTheileria equi Babesia caballi hemoparasites piroplasm carrier parasitemia
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