equine assay data sheet
- Qualitative detection of
Theileria equi (formerly known as
Babesia equi) by
polymerase chain reaction
- Qualitative detection of
Babesia caballi by polymerase chain reaction
piroplasmosis is caused by the intracellular, haemoprotozoan
parasites Theileria equi
(formerly known as as
Babesia equi, Mehlhorn and Schein, 1998) and
which are transmitted by ticks of several genera including
The disease is found in many tropical and subtropical areas.
Clinical manifestation of the disease is variable and often
includes icterus (jaundice), haemoglobinuria and fever. Both
chronic and acute infection can occur. Sub-clinical infected
animals are of major concern, as they can be carriers of the
organism. The geographic movement of presumably healthy horses
may aid in the spread of piroplasmosis. In addition to the fact
that sub-clinical piroplasmosis may negatively affect the
animal’s performance, it has been shown that strenuous exercise,
such as that experienced in horse racing, can cause sub-clinical
infections to become acute (Hailat et al., 1997). Thus there is
a real need for the diagnosis of both clinical and sub-clinical
In general, B. caballi
causes a less severe disease, as only about 1% of the red blood
cells are infected. Infections may not be apparent, but can
persist 1 to 4 years before they are eventually eliminated. They
may be associated with poor appetite, poor performance and
weight loss. In contrast, T.
equi infects up to 20% of red blood cells, leading
to more severe clinical signs including fever, anemia, icterus,
increased respiratory and heart rates and enlargement of the
spleen. The parasites destroy red blood cells, causing anemia,
and the released hemoglobin may cause icterus and dark urine.
Colic, constipation followed by diarrhea, and swelling of the
legs can occur. Foals can be infected in utero, and can be
aborted or born anemic and weak. Animals with
T. equi infections
become life-long carriers.
Piroplasmosis can be diagnosed by a number of different methods
including giemsa-stained blood smear, ELISA and PCR. Giemsa-stained blood
smear can only detect these parasites when the infected animal
is at the acute stage of infection, and cannot identify chronic
carriers. ELISA and other serological detection methods such as
complement fixation and indirect fluorescent antibody detection
suffer from low sensitivity and cross reactivity.
However, PCR has been shown to be sensitive, specific and a
useful diagnostic tool for detecting the presence of
species (Bose et al., 1995).
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
diagnosis of equine piroplasmosis infection.
Help ensure that animal populations are free of equine
Early prevention of spread of these protozoans
Minimize personnel exposure to these protozoans
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive
Bose, R., Jorgensen, W.K., Dalgliesh, R.J., Friedhoff, K.T. and
de Vos, A.J. (1995) Current state and future trends in the
diagnosis of babesiosis. Vet. Parasit. 57:61–74.
N.Q., Lafi, S.Q., Al-Darraji, A.M. and Al-Ani, F.K. (1997)
Equine babesiosis associated with strenuous exercise: clinical
and pathological studies in Jordan. Vet. Parasit. 69:1–8.
Mehlhorn, H. and Schein, E. (1998) Redescription of
Babesia equi Laveran, 1901 as
Theileria equi. Parasitol. Res. 84: 467–475.
Specimen requirements: 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) tube, or tick.
Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
For all 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