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Risk factors for Clostridium piliforme infection in foals

Geoffrey T. FosgateDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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David W. HirdDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Deryck H. ReadCalifornia Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory—San Bernardino Branch, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, San Bernardino, CA 92412.

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Richard L. WalkerCalifornia Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine risk factors for Clostridium piliforme infection in neonatal foals on a Thoroughbred breeding farm in California.

Design—Case-control and retrospective cohort studies.

Animals—322 neonatal Thoroughbred foals either born on the study farm or born elsewhere but traveled to the farm with their dam during the 1998, 1999, and 2000 breeding seasons.

Procedure—Mare and foal records from 1998, 1999, and 2000 were examined, using case-control design methods to determine variables associated with increased risk of C piliforme infection in foals. Important risk factors identified in the case-control study were then reevaluated by use of a retrospective cohort design, using data from all neonatal foals present on the farm during the 3-year study period.

Results—Foals born between March 13 and April 13 were 7.2 times as likely to develop C piliforme infection as were those born at any other time of the foaling season. Foals of nonresident (visiting) mares were 3.4 times as likely to develop disease as were foals born to mares that were permanent residents of the study farm. Foals of mares < 6 years of age were 2.9 times as likely to develop disease as were foals born to older mares.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this research can be used to better understand the epidemiologic factors of C piliforme infection in horses. High-risk foals can be closely monitored to aid in early diagnosis and treatment, resulting in the best possible clinical outcome for affected individuals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:785–790)

Abstract

Objective—To determine risk factors for Clostridium piliforme infection in neonatal foals on a Thoroughbred breeding farm in California.

Design—Case-control and retrospective cohort studies.

Animals—322 neonatal Thoroughbred foals either born on the study farm or born elsewhere but traveled to the farm with their dam during the 1998, 1999, and 2000 breeding seasons.

Procedure—Mare and foal records from 1998, 1999, and 2000 were examined, using case-control design methods to determine variables associated with increased risk of C piliforme infection in foals. Important risk factors identified in the case-control study were then reevaluated by use of a retrospective cohort design, using data from all neonatal foals present on the farm during the 3-year study period.

Results—Foals born between March 13 and April 13 were 7.2 times as likely to develop C piliforme infection as were those born at any other time of the foaling season. Foals of nonresident (visiting) mares were 3.4 times as likely to develop disease as were foals born to mares that were permanent residents of the study farm. Foals of mares < 6 years of age were 2.9 times as likely to develop disease as were foals born to older mares.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this research can be used to better understand the epidemiologic factors of C piliforme infection in horses. High-risk foals can be closely monitored to aid in early diagnosis and treatment, resulting in the best possible clinical outcome for affected individuals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:785–790)