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Vet J. 2013 Jun;196(3):541-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.10.025. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Efficacy of imidocarb dipropionate in eliminating Theileria equi from experimentally infected horses.

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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, Ames, IA 50010, USA.


Theileria equi, one of the causative agents of equine piroplasmosis, is endemic in many regions of the world but is considered a 'foreign' animal disease in the USA. In an effort to prevent the importation of T. equi, stringent serological screening of horses is practiced prior to entry to the USA. Current regulatory options available where horses are found to be infected include permanent quarantine with or without chemotherapy, repatriation, or euthanasia. Chemotherapeutics that eliminate infection and subsequently transmission risk are critical in the management of infected horses. In this study, the efficacy of the drug imidocarb dipropionate against experimental T. equi infection was assessed. Of nine horses experimentally inoculated with T. equi isolated from an animal previously imported from Peru, six were treated with imidocarb dipropionate after the resolution of the acute phase of the disease. Elimination of the parasite was demonstrated in 5/6 by nested PCR, blood transfusions to naïve horses, and reversion to seronegative status. The findings support the use of this drug as a potential treatment option in controlling outbreaks of T. equi, and also suggest that 'combination testing' using both serological and PCR detection methods are necessary to demonstrate clearance of infection.

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