Investigation of the Bi-Weekly Administration of Diclazuril on the Antibody Kinetics to Sarcocystis Neurona in Healthy Horses

Nicola Pusterla, Kaitlyn James, Fairfield Bain, D. Craig Barnett, Duane Chappell, Earl Gaughan, Bryant Craig, Chrissie Schneider, Wendy Vaala, Mark Papich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine if bi-weekly administration of diclazuril at half the label dose would reduce seroprevalence and magnitude of titers to S. neurona in healthy horses naturally exposed to the apicomplexan protozoal parasite. 12 healthy adult horses were moved from a low-risk exposure to a farm with high exposure rate to S. neurona in their horse population. The horses were randomly assigned to either a treatment or a control group. Treatment consisted in the administration of half the label dose (0.5 mg/kg) of diclazuril (Protazil) pelleted top dress twice weekly (every 3–4 days) for 12 months. Prior to initiation of treatment and monthly thereafter, blood was collected for the detection of antibodies to S. neurona using a quantitative immunoassay. Further, trough plasma diclazuril levels were determined every 60 days. All 20 horses remained healthy during the entire study period. Seroprevalence to S. neurona decreased initially in the treatment group to 50% at 30 days post-treatment commencement. This was followed by a slow increase in seroprevalence in the treatment group before reaching 100% in both groups by 90 days post-treatment commencement. The seroprevalence remained 100% in both groups from 90 to 360 study days. While titer distribution between the two groups was similar at study commencement, treated horses had significantly lower titers throughout the treatment period (P < 0.05). All treated study horses had detectable plasma trough diclazuril levels at the 6 time points and the levels were above the concentration known to inhibit S. neurona in vitro (1.0 ng/mL). The administration of diclazuril pelleted top dress at half the label dose twice weekly was able to maintain low titers to S. neurona in healthy adult horses naturally exposed to the protozoal parasite. Further, trough diclazuril levels were in excess of the minimal concentration known to inhibit S. neurona.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103713
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Volume104
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Antibody titers
  • Diclazuril
  • EPM
  • Healthy horses
  • S. neurona

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine

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