Usefulness of a commercial equine IgG test and serum protein concentration as indicators of failure of transfer of passive immunity in hospitalized foals.
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Detection of failure of transfer of passive immunity (FTPI) is important in reducing morbidity and mortality in neonatal foals. We investigated the performance of a commercial equine IgG test (SNAP Foal IgG Test Kit) to diagnose FTPI in hospitalized foals. Furthermore, we evaluated the usefulness of serum total protein (STP) and serum globulin (SG) concentrations as indicators of FTPI. Serum IgG concentration was measured by means of the SNAP test and single radial immunodiffusion, and SG and STP concentrations were determined by means of a clinical chemistry analyzer. Subjects were 67 hospitalized foals <19 days old. The SNAP test was repeated on 37 samples from 29 foals, with identical results for 24 samples (kappa statistic, 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.46-0.82). The sensitivity of the SNAP test to detect serum IgG concentration [IgG] < or =400 and < or =800 mg/dl was 90% (95% CI, 71-98%) and 95% (85-99%), respectively, and the specificity was 79% (71-82%) and 52% (39-57%), respectively. Sensitivity for detection of [IgG] < or =400 mg/dl was not affected (P > .05) by plasma fibrinogen concentration, sepsis score, or bacteremia. Specificity for detection of [IgG] < or = 800 mg/dl was lower (P < .05) in foals with sepsis score < or =11 (50% [31-60%] versus 100% [8-100%]) and bacteremia (25% [5-56%] versus 62% [45-62%]). Sensitivity and specificity of [STP] < or = 5.0 g/dl for [IgG] < or =800 mg/dl was 94% (83-99%) and 47% (30-56%), respectively. Performance of the SNAP test in hospitalized foals is impaired because of low specificity, but can have usefulness provided that the properties of the test and characteristics of the foal being examined are considered when interpreting the results. The STP and SG concentrations are poor sole indicators of FTPI in hospitalized foals, but may be useful adjunctive tests.