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Postoperative infection with Actinobacillus spp in horses: 10 cases (1995–2000)

Meredith A. Smith MA, Vet MB1 and Michael W. Ross DVM, DACVS2
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  • 1 The Home of Rest for Horses, Philip Leverhulme Large Animal Hospital, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Wirral, CH64 7TE, United Kingdom.
  • | 2 New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Abstract

Objective—To determine features of postoperative wound infection caused by Actinobacillus spp in horses undergoing clean, elective surgery and to evaluate bacterial susceptibility profiles of bacteria isolated.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 horses.

Procedure—Data were retrieved from medical records and the microbiology laboratory database.

Results—1,604 horses underwent clean, elective surgical procedures during the study period. Of these, 23 (1.43%) had postoperative wound infections, and Actinobacillus spp was isolated from 10 of these 23 (43%). Surgical procedures in these 10 horses included laryngoplasty with ventriculocordectomy (n = 3), arthroscopy (3), desmotomy of the accessory ligament of the superficial digital flexor tendon (2), removal of laryngoplasty prostheses (1), and hygroma resection (1). Seven horses survived, and 3 were euthanatized. All 10 Actinobacillus isolates were resistant to penicillin, and 6 were resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. All isolates were susceptible to ceftiofur and gentamicin. During the 5-year period of the study, Actinobacillus organisms were isolated from 35 of 513 (6.8%) samples from the general hospital population submitted for bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—During the study period, Actinobacillus spp was isolated from a higher than expected percentage of horses that developed postoperative wound infections after clean, elective surgery. Susceptibility profiles for these isolates were different from typical susceptibility profiles for Actinobacillus isolates, suggesting that a pattern of resistance may be emerging. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1306–1310)

Abstract

Objective—To determine features of postoperative wound infection caused by Actinobacillus spp in horses undergoing clean, elective surgery and to evaluate bacterial susceptibility profiles of bacteria isolated.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 horses.

Procedure—Data were retrieved from medical records and the microbiology laboratory database.

Results—1,604 horses underwent clean, elective surgical procedures during the study period. Of these, 23 (1.43%) had postoperative wound infections, and Actinobacillus spp was isolated from 10 of these 23 (43%). Surgical procedures in these 10 horses included laryngoplasty with ventriculocordectomy (n = 3), arthroscopy (3), desmotomy of the accessory ligament of the superficial digital flexor tendon (2), removal of laryngoplasty prostheses (1), and hygroma resection (1). Seven horses survived, and 3 were euthanatized. All 10 Actinobacillus isolates were resistant to penicillin, and 6 were resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. All isolates were susceptible to ceftiofur and gentamicin. During the 5-year period of the study, Actinobacillus organisms were isolated from 35 of 513 (6.8%) samples from the general hospital population submitted for bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—During the study period, Actinobacillus spp was isolated from a higher than expected percentage of horses that developed postoperative wound infections after clean, elective surgery. Susceptibility profiles for these isolates were different from typical susceptibility profiles for Actinobacillus isolates, suggesting that a pattern of resistance may be emerging. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1306–1310)