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Case series: periocular habronemiasis in five horses in the Netherlands
  1. Nicole Verhaar1,
  2. Hanneke Hermans1,
  3. Eugene van Rooij2,
  4. Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan1 and
  5. Jos Ensink1
  1. 1 Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. E-mail for correspondence; nicole.verhaar{at}tiho-hannover.de

Abstract

In tropical and subtropical climates, infection of periocular tissue by Habronema larvae is a recognised cause of conjunctivitis or blepharitis. To the authors’ knowledge, only a few cases of habronemiasis have been described in Western Europe, and it has not been documented previously in the Netherlands. The objective of this report is to describe the occurrence of five cases of (peri)ocular habronemiasis in the Netherlands, of which four date from the past few years. The diagnosis was based on the history, clinical signs and histopathologic examination of biopsy specimens. A granulomatous conjunctivitis/dermatitis and sulphur-like granules were present in all cases. Histopathology showed an eosinophilic granulomatous inflammation, and three out of five (60 per cent) samples revealed one or more nematodes on section. Treatment combinations with surgical excision, local corticosteroid and/or anthelmintic drugs were used. Furthermore, all horses received ivermectin or moxidectin. Treatment resulted in healing of the lesions in four horses. One case, which was refractory to treatment, resolved spontaneously after the onset of colder weather. This case series suggests an increased prevalence of (peri)ocular habronemiasis in the Netherlands. This diagnosis should therefore be considered when being presented with a horse with granulomatous conjunctivitis/dermatitis in Western Europe, especially during the summer months.

  • equine
  • Habronema
  • eye
  • summer sores
  • nematodes
  • eosinophilic granuloma

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Footnotes

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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