Saturday, December 26, 2009

Treating piroplasmosis

Research brings hope for horses with piroplasmosis. A drug used to treat protozoal infections in cattle has been shown to be effective against one form of the disease in horses when used at relatively high doses.

Piroplasmosis in horses is known to be caused by two blood-borne parasites, Babesia (Theileria) equi and Babesia caballi. The organisms infect the red blood cells and cause fever, anemia and jaundice.

Infected horses may remain carriers of the infection after recovering from the initial signs of disease. Such horses can transmit the disease even though the organisms can no longer be found in blood smears.

Now researchers at the Agricultural Research Service Animal Disease Research Unit in Pullman, Washington, led by Dr Don Knowles, have found that relatively high doses of imidocarb dipropionate are effective for treating horses infected with Babesia caballi.

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