Potential Spread Of Equine Protozoan An International Concern

When caring for dermatitis that is difficult to treat in donkeys and potentially other equines, besnoitiosis should be considered, reports HorseTalk. Caused by intracellular protozoan parasites, besnoitiosis was confirmed in a jack in Belgium. Besnoitiosis that infects animals includes 10 different species; horses, donkeys and zebras are infected by Besnoitia bennetti, which has been found in both the United States and Africa.

The affected donkey had bald patches and was severely itchy, with crusts on skin lesions. His body condition did not improve after being treated with phoxim (a topical insecticide). Additional testing showed a thick-walled cyst that had evidence of a parasite infection, and Besnoitia bennetti was confirmed with DNA testing.

This was the first proven case of B. bennetti in donkeys in Europe. It is believed that more cases exist, but are not recorded because of the difficulty in diagnosing, as well as the lack of effective treatments.

The study concluded that donkeys are increasing in populations throughout the world, so widespread distribution of B. bennetti would be of international concern.

Read more at HorseTalk.

Read the full study here.

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