Antibody Coefficients for the Diagnosis of Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis

M. Furr, D. Howe, S. Reed, M. Yeargan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) remains a challenge for equine practitioners. Current utilized methods have inadequate sensitivity and specificity, because of a high number of false positive results.Hypothesis/Objective: Evaluation of antibody indices to Sarcocystis neurona should provide high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of EPM.Animals: Archived samples from 29 clinical patients.Methods: Archived serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from clinical patients with either EPM (14) or cervical vertebral compressive myelopathy (CVM) (15) were examined and tested for anti-S. neurona antibodies by the SnSAG2 ELISA. The results were used to calculate the antibody index (AI) and C-value. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated, and the AI, C-value, immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentrations, and anti-S. neurona titers compared. In addition, negative CSF was spiked in varying concentrations with blood from a horse with a high anti-S. neurona titer, and the tests repeated.Results: Results demonstrated that the IgG concentration, anti-S. neurona titer, AI, and C-value were significantly higher (P < .05) in horses with EPM than in those with CVM. Sensitivity and specificity of the AI was 71 and 100%, respectively, and that of the C-value was 86 and 100%, respectively. In addition, the AI and C-value from the samples spiked with S. neurona positive blood remained below 1 (eg, negative) in CSF with a red blood cell (RBC) count up to 105 RBC/μL.Conclusions/Clinical Importance: Results of the study demonstrate the value of calculating the AI and C-value in the diagnosis of EPM in horses. In addition, the test is robust in the presence of blood contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-142
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Sarcocystis neurona
  • SnSAG2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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