Zobba, Rosanna and Ardu, Mauro and Niccolini, Serena and Chessa, Bernardo and Manna, Laura and Cocco, Raffaella and Pinna Parpaglia, Maria Luisa (2008) Clinical and laboratory findings in equine piroplasmosis. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Vol. 28 (5), p. 301-308. ISSN 0737-0806. Article.
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The objective of this study was to evaluate equine piroplasmosis (EP) as a cause of morbidity in horses in Sardinia (Italy), describe the clinical signs and altered hematologic and biochemical parameters, and illustrate response to different treatments. Among 44 horses suspected of tick-borne disease, 38 were polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive for Theileria equi (n = 27) or Babesia caballi (n = 6), whereas five were positive for both protozoans. Typical clinical features of piroplasmosis were seen in some of the horses, whereas others had nonspecific mild symptoms. Hematologic findings revealed involvement of the three blood cell lineages (anemia, leukopenia or leukocytosis, thrombocytopenia), and biochemical variations were related to increased bilirubin, alteration of serum phosphorus, and hypoalbuminemia. We suggest that the two protozoans are the most important causative agents of equine tick-borne disease in this geographic area, and we observe that different clinical features are associated with the disease; in addition to the typical aspects of piroplasmosis, characterized by fever, pale mucous membranes, and icterus, we can signal other nonspecific mild signs such as weight loss, weight loss associated with an insignificant leukopenia, or weight loss associated with depression, anorexia, and mild hyperbilirubin. The study is intended as a practical contribution for veterinary practitioners because it describes different clinical presentations and laboratory findings of EP, suggests diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the disease, and shows diffusion of the disease in a Mediterranean region.
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