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Vet Pathol. 2006 Sep;43(5):755-61.

Immunohistochemical identification and pathologic findings in natural cases of equine abortion caused by leptospiral infection.

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  • 1Central Veterinary Institute, Budapest, Tábornok u. 2, H-1149 Hungary.


The aim of this study was to examine the utility of immunohistochemistry (IHC) in the diagnosis of leptospiral equine abortion and to compare IHC to silver staining and serology of the aborted mares. Ninety-six fetuses from 57 farms were examined using all 3 diagnostic techniques, revealing evidence of leptospiral infection in 3 fetuses (3.1%) from 3 (5.3%) different farms. A new finding in 1 of these confirmed cases of leptospiral abortion was the presence of macroscopic pinpoint grayish-white nodules that had a histologic correlate of hepatic necrosis; other histologic findings were consistent with those previously reported. IHC performed using 2 different leptospiral antisera (multivalent whole-cell rabbit antiserum and rabbit antiserum against the major outer membrane protein LipL32) yielded similar results. IHC was more sensitive (19/21 [90.5%] tissue samples) than silver staining (8/21 [38.1%] tissue samples), and more specific than serology performed using the microscopic agglutination test. The primary advantage of IHC over silver staining was the ability of IHC to identify leptospiral antigen not only as morphologically intact spiral forms.

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