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Antibody titers against Borrelia in horses in serum and in eyes and occurrence of equine recurrent uveitis.

Abstract

In Germany very little is known about antibody titers against Borrelia burgdorferi in the horse. In the USA there exist some studies on the titer levels and symptoms due to borrelia infections. Beside lameness, fever, polyarthritis, pneumonia and dullness there is a study showing a connection between panuveitis and Borrelia infection in the horse. In human medicine the infection with Borrelia burgdorferi becomes more and more important. Uveitis and other eye diseases due to Borrelia burgdorferi are proved and documented. The goal of this study was to find a connection between antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi and cases of equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). The antibody titer against Borrelia burgdorferi was determined by IFT in 153 horses with no sign of
disease of the eye and in 79 horses with equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). 48% of all horses were found to be positive (titer 1:64 or higher). In addition 22 sera were tested in western-blot for antibody titers. There was no significant correlation between signs of ERU and increased antibody titers against Borrelia burgdorferi (p > 0.05). No clinical signs were seen in horses with elevated titers. No correlation between the age of the horses and the antibody level could be found. There was a connection between the antibody titer and the month of examination (p < 0.05). Highest titer levels were seen in May and November. This is both one month later than the activity of the transmitting ticks (I. ricinus).

Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 1996 Aug;109(8):273-8. English Abstract [1]