Equine Neospora infection has been linked to neurological disorders and infertility in horses. This study looked into the risk factors for infection and the exposure to Neospora spp. in horses. The study was performed in two independent populations in Israel. The first consisted of apparently healthy horses, and the second consisted of mares examined during pregnancy and after parturition. Sera samples collected from horses and mares were tested for Neospora exposure by the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). The study revealed seroprevalence of 24% in apparently healthy horses and 66.4% and 48.6% in mares during gestation and after parturition, respectively. Among the investigated risk factors, older age (p = 0.026) and housing in both stalls and paddocks (p = 0.033) in apparently healthy horses, and Arabian breeds (p = 0.005) in pregnant mares, were found to be significantly associated with Neospora spp. seropositivity in univariable, but not multivariable, statistical analysis. This study revealed high exposure of equines to Neospora parasites, especially mares. Horse farm management, in combination with active surveillance, including serological testing and follow up, could help reduce the spread of the parasite among horses in endemic areas.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH), UC Davis & The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine (KSVM), grant number 2018-70-KG and The Israeli Veterinary Services and Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
© 2022 by the authors.
- risk factors