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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Case Report

Year: 2021

Authors: Dirks, E; de Heus, P; Joachim, A; Cavalleri, JV; Schwendenwein, I; Melchert, M; Fuehrer, HP

Title: First case of autochthonous equine theileriosis in Austria.

Source: Pathogens. 2021; 10(3):298

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Cavalleri Jessika-Maximiliane
de Heus Phebe
Dirks Esther
Führer Hans-Peter
Joachim Anja
Melchert Maria
Schwendenwein Ilse

Vetmed Research Units
Clinical Pathology Platform
University Equine Clinic, Clinical Unit of Equine Internal Medicine
Insemination and Embryotransfer Platform
Institute of Parasitology

A 23-year-old pregnant warmblood mare from Güssing, Eastern Austria, presented with apathy, anemia, fever, tachycardia and tachypnoea, and a severely elevated serum amyloid A concentration. The horse had a poor body condition and showed thoracic and pericardial effusions, and later dependent edema and icteric mucous membranes. Blood smear and molecular analyses revealed an infection with Theileria equi. Upon treatment with imidocarb diproprionate, the mare improved clinically, parasites were undetectable in blood smears, and 19 days after hospitalization the horse was discharged from hospital. However, 89 days after first hospitalization, the mare again presented to the hospital with an abortion, and the spleen of the aborted fetus was also PCR-positive for T. equi. On the pasture, where the horse had grazed, different developmental stages of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks were collected and subjected to PCR, and one engorged specimen was positive for T. equi. All three amplicon sequences were identical (T. equi genotype E). It is suspected that T. equi may repeatedly be transmitted in the area where the infected mare had grazed, and it could be shown that transmission to the fetus had occurred. Due to the chronic nature of equine theileriosis and the possible health implications of infection, it is advised to include this disease in the panel of differential diagnoses in horses with relevant clinical signs, including horses without travel disease, and to be aware of iatrogenic transmission from inapparent carrier animals.

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