In-House ELISA Test For Borrelia burgdorferi

Current tests for Borrelia burgdorferi, a tick-borne spirochete (a spiral-shaped bacterium) that causes Lyme disease in people, horses, dogs, cats, and cows, often take several days to complete and can sometimes lack definitive answers for owners and veterinarians. Researchers looking to find a reliable in-house test for B. burgdorferi evaluated a SNAP ELISA (enzyme-linked

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Current tests for Borrelia burgdorferi, a tick-borne spirochete (a spiral-shaped bacterium) that causes Lyme disease in people, horses, dogs, cats, and cows, often take several days to complete and can sometimes lack definitive answers for owners and veterinarians. Researchers looking to find a reliable in-house test for B. burgdorferi evaluated a SNAP ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test–which tests for antibodies against the spirochete–that IDEXX commercially markets for dogs.

“Our data indicate that the canine in-house ELISA (SNAP) test can be used to diagnose B. burgdorferi infection in horses,” said Amy Johnson, DVM, a large animal internal medicine resident at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She said the test had a high specificity and sensitivity in her presentation at the 2006 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention held Dec. 2-6, 2006, in San Antonio, Texas.

Over the last 15 to 20 years, B. burgdorferi infection in horses has been increasingly recognized, especially in some areas of the country such as the Northeast,” Johnson said. “However, clinical signs attributed to infection can be quite vague and variable. Clinical signs generally include muscle stiffness, chronic weight loss, swollen joints, shifting leg lameness, and muscle tenderness. Other clinical signs that have been infrequently reported include uveitis, hepatitis, abortion, and neurologic manifestations.

“The diagnosis of clinical disease can be challenging,” she explained, and that’s why there is such a need for a quick, reliable, in-house test for the infection. “We think there are many horses that are infected with the bacteria, but who are not showing any signs

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Written by:

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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