ISSN: 2223-2133
Prevalence of Babesia caballi and Theileria equi in horses and donkeys on St. Kitts and Nevis
Amanda Loftis, Lori Bidwell, Hamish Mohammed

Equine piroplasmosis is considered enzootic throughout the Caribbean, but two different organisms cause piroplasmosis, with Theileria equi causing more severe infections and exhibiting less efficient tick transmission than Babesia caballi.  Little is known about the presence of these pathogens on specific islands.  The prevalence of both piroplasms in horses and donkeys from St.  Kitts and Nevis, two islands in the Lesser Antilles, was assessed and risk factors were evaluated.  Both PCR and cELISA were used to test 83 horses and 132 donkeys for parasitemia and antibodies, respectively, to B.  caballi and T.  equi.  Babesia caballi was found on both islands, in 31.3% of horses and 67.4% of donkeys, and duration of residence on any Caribbean island was a risk factor.  Theileria equi was detected in 23.2% of horses from St.  Kitts, but not in horses from Nevis or in donkeys; duration of residence specifically on St.  Kitts was a risk factor for these horses.  This work demonstrates the irregular distribution of Theileria equi, and effective control of these diseases for horses originating within the Caribbean requires testing for both piroplasms on an individual island scale.