Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of
by real time polymerase chain reaction.
included in P0017
- equine protozoal myeloencephalitis panel and in
P0014 - equine neurological panel.
protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is one of the most challenging
and exasperating diseases in horses, not only for veterinary
scientists but for horse owners as well. EPM is the most
commonly diagnosed neurologic disease of horses in North America
(MacKay, 1997). It occurs when protozoal parasites infect and
invade the central nervous system. EPM infection results in
characteristic lesions in the brain and spinal cord that are
evident during necropsy. The presence of these lesions
correlates well with the clinical signs generally attributed to
EPM (ataxia, muscle atrophy, etc).
availability of molecular testing, it was almost impossible to
definitively identify the causative agent and infection status
of an affected horse. If a horse showed signs of neurologic
problems, the veterinarian began a process of elimination to
determine what was NOT causing the symptoms. Traditional EPM
tests were only effective at determining that the horse did not
have EPM. If traditional EPM test results were positive, that
only definitively revealed that the horse had been exposed in
the past to the parasites that cause EPM. Testing could not show
whether the horse had an active infection by those parasites.
recently the parasitic organism
was thought to be the sole cause of EPM. However, a newly
Neospora hughesi, has now been recognized as another
cause of this disease. Both species are challenging to treat due
to the concealment of cysts in tissue, which can result in
recrudescence of infection even after treatment. Because
infections from N. hughesi,
their lesions and the actual parasites are so similar to
S. neurona, it is
likely that some Neospora
infections have been mistaken in the past for
PCR is the
most specific and sensitive method available for detection of
Neospora hughesi. This testing technique is vital to
correctly identifying the EPM pathogen in affected horses.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
diagnosis of N. hughesi
Help ensure that herds are free of
Early prevention of spread of this parasite among a herd
Minimize personnel exposure to this parasite
Safety monitoring of biological products and vaccines
that derive from horses
MacKay, R.J. (1997) Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. Vet.
Clin. North Am. Equine Pract. 13:79–96.
Specimen requirements: 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) or ACD (yellow top)
tube, or 0.2 ml plasma, serum or CSF.
types other than those listed here, please call to confirm
specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
Qualitative real time PCR