Temporal detection of Lawsonia intracellularis using serology and real-time PCR in Thoroughbred horses residing on a farm endemic for equine proliferative enteropathy

Nicola Pusterla, Ryan Jackson, Rachel Wilson, Jessica Collier, Samantha Mapes, Connie Gebhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


The goals of this study were to evaluate titers of antibodies against Lawsonia intracellularis in 68 resident broodmares from a farm known to be endemic for equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE) and to evaluate maternal antibodies, occurrence of seroconversion and fecal shedding in their foals. Serum samples collected from mares at delivery and from foals pre- and post-colostrum ingestion and monthly thereafter were tested for the presence of L. intracellularis antibodies by immunoperoxidase monolayer assay (IPMA). Further, feces collected from mares at delivery and foals post-partum and monthly thereafter were assayed for L. intracellularis using real-time PCR. Thirty-seven mares (54.4%) had detectable antibody titers (≥60) against L. intracellularis by IPMA at the time of foaling. Passive transfer of colostral antibodies against L. intracellularis was documented in 37 foals (54.4%) and the colostral antibodies remained detectable in the serum of foals for 1-3 months. Overall, 22 foals (33.3%) showed evidence of natural exposure to L. intracellularis throughout the study period, however, none of the study foals developed signs compatible with EPE. The serological results showed that mares residing on a farm known to be endemic for EPE are routinely exposed to L. intracellularis and that antibodies against L. intracellularis are passively transferred to foals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 14 2009



  • Epidemiology
  • Equine proliferative enteropathy
  • Horse
  • Lawsonia intracellularis
  • Real-time PCR
  • Serology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)

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