Emerging techniques could aid diagnosis of tick-borne horse infections – review

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Piroplasmosis infections take a heavy toll on horses and cattle around the globe. Photo: Steven Glenn/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Laboratory & Consultation Division
Piroplasmosis infections take a heavy toll on horses and cattle around the globe. Photo: Steven Glenn/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Laboratory & Consultation Division

The diagnosis of tick-borne diseases in horses could be greatly enhanced by the use of emerging DNA-based procedures, a review has concluded.

Lawan Adamu and his colleagues from a range of academic institutions in Nigeria, said tick-borne diseases, also known as equine piroplasmosis, had a major impact on the equine productivity. The infections reduced the breeding capability and athletic performance of equids globally.

Identification of these blood-dwelling parasites was crucial in understanding their distribution in the population and to discern between species and subspecies responsible for the infections.

The review team, writing in the open-access peer-reviewed Journal of Advanced Veterinary and Animal Research, said conventional procedures such as microscopic and serological evaluations did not usually meet these requirements.

They said DNA-based investigations for the identification, diversification and classification of different blood-living parasites had since been established.

“Molecular investigative procedures, for example DNA hybridization, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), transcriptomics, proteomics, metagenomics and metabolomics, permit the uncovering of hemoparasites or tissues with optimal specificity, sensitivity and consistency.”

These procedures, they said, can be used to detect definite species and subspecies. They were effective and provided greater benefits and more flexibility than standard procedures.

The review team concluded: “The bourgeoning transcriptomics, proteomics, metagenomic and metabolomics could immensely add to the diagnosis of tick-borne diseases found in the tropical, subtropical and some temperate region of the world.

“The diagnosis of tick-borne diseases of equids could be greatly enhanced by employing these nascent procedures.”

Adamu was joined in the review by Usman Aliyu Turaki, Yachilla M. Bukar-Kolo, Anas Yusuf Husainy, Iliyasu Dauda, Isa Adamu Gulani, Falmata Ali Abadam and Aliyu Usman Mani . The researchers were variously affiliated with the University of Maiduguri, the Federal University of Kashere, and Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri.

Adamu L, Turaki UA, Bukar-Kolo YM, Husainy AY, Dauda I, Gulani IA, Abadam
FA, Mani AU (2016). Current updates on diagnostic methodologies for tick-borne hemoparasitic
diseases in equids: A review. Journal of Advanced Veterinary and Animal Research, 3(2): 84-91.

The review, published under a Creative Commons License, can be read here

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