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Most appropriate samples to be taken when facing a suspicion of infectious disease in horses

Fátima Cruz
September 8th, 2016

Whenever there is a suspicion of an infectious disease in a horse, it is important to take into account several basic aspects of the sampling for the laboratory analysis in order to avoid mistakes in this stage which could lead to false conclusions drawn from the interpretation of results:

Equipment used when sampling horses with a suspicion of infectious disease
Equipment used when sampling horses with a suspicion of infectious disease

In this article we summarise the most appropriate samples that should be taken when facing a horse with a suspicion of infectious disease.


Equine Rhinopneumonitis (Equine Herpesvirus type 1 / type 4)

Sampling a horse by using a nasopharingeal swab
Sampling a horse by using a nasopharingeal swab

Respiratory disease

Neurological disease

Abortion

Neonatal disease/death


Equine Viral Arteritis

Nasopharyngeal swab correctly placed in a sterile tube with sterile saline
Nasopharyngeal swab correctly placed in a sterile tube with sterile saline

Respiratory disease / pyrexia / oedema

Aborto

Neonatal death / pneumonia

Detection of carrier stallions


West Nile Virus

Neurological disease

Notifiable disease If positive It is mandatory to declare


Equine Influenza

Acute disease


Equine Infectious Anemia

Acute / Subacute / Chronic disease

Notifiable disease If positive It is mandatory to declare


Equine Strangles (Streptococcus equi subsp. equi)

Acute disease

Carrier detection


Rhodococcus equi

Multiple abscesses in the lung of a foal caused by Rhodococcus equi
Multiple abscesses in the lung of a foal caused by Rhodococcus equi

Acute disease

Death / euthanasia

Serology




Equine Piroplasmosis (Theileria equi, Babesia caballi)

Acute disease

Detection of carriers


Equine Salmonellosis (Salmonella spp.)


Enterocolitis caused by Clostridium perfringens

A positive culture does not involve that Clostridium perfringens is the cause.


Enterocolitis caused by Clostridium difficile

A positive culture does not involve that Clostridium difficile is the cause.


Other cases

Finally, in those cases when there is not a clear suspicion of a particular agent, it is essential to do a correct interview in order to gather the clinical history and determine if there are any other cases in the same premises or in nearby premises. Furthermore, it is important to know the recent movements in the premises: new entries, outings to competitions, as well as any changes in the management or the feed. A list of differential diagnoses should be done; if even with all the gathered information the case is not clear and there may be several agents causing the clinical signs, the ideal samples for a diagnosis would be the following: Nasopharyngeal swab, heparinised blood and serum. If the horse has died or if it has been euthanised, the ideal samples to be collected in the necropsy (fresh tissues and tissues in formaline 10%) are: lung, liver, thymus, spleen, lymph node, and brain, cerebrospinal fluid and spinal cord if the horse presented with neurological signs.


Fátima Cruz

Equine Health Surveillance Unit
VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre
Complutense University Madrid (Spain)

Tel.: (+34) 913943999
seviseq@ucm.es





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Article data

Title:
Most appropriate samples to be taken when facing a suspicion of infectious disease in horses
Author:
Fátima Cruz
Online publication date:
September 8th, 2016

Author data
Fátima Cruz
PhD. Fátima Cruz
Equine Health Surveillance
Unit

VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre
Complutense University
Madrid (Spain)

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