The aim of this study was to examine the intra-uterine exposure to Sarcocystis spp. antigens, determining the number of foals with detectable concentrations of antibodies against these agents in the serum, before colostrum ingestion and collect data about exposure of horses to the parasite. Serum samples were collected from 195 thoroughbred mares and their newborns in two farms from southern Brazil. Parasite specific antibody responses to Sarcocystis antigens were detected using the indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) and immunoblot analysis. In 84.1% (159/189) of the pregnant mares and in 7.4% (14/189) of foals we detected antibodies anti-Sarcocystis spp. by IFAT. All samples seropositive from foals were also positive in their respective mares. Serum samples of seropositive foals by IFAT, showed no reactivity on the immunoblot, having as antigens S. neurona merozoites. In conclusion, the intra-uterine exposure to Sarcocystis spp. antigens in horses was demonstrated, with occurrence not only in mares, but also in their foals, before colostrum ingestion these occurrences were reduced.
equine protozoal mieloencephalitis; transplacental infection; seroprevalence; indirect fluorescent antibody test; immunoblot