Objective—To identify farm characteristics and management practices associated with development of Rhodococcus equi pneumonia in foals.
Design—Prospective case-control study.
Animals—5,230 foals on 138 breeding farms with 9,136 horses.
Procedure—During 2003, participating veterinarians provided data from 1 or 2 farms with ≥ 1 foal with R equi pneumonia and unaffected farms. Data from affected and unaffected farms were compared by use of logistic regression analysis.
Results—A number of variables relating to farm size and desirable management practices were significantly associated with increased odds of farms being affected with R equi pneumonia. By use of multivariate logistic regression, affected farms were determined significantly more likely to have raised Thoroughbreds, housed ≥ 15 foals, used concrete floors in foaling stalls, and tested foals for passive transfer of immunity than unaffected farms. These results remained significant even after accounting for exposure of foals to other breeding farms during the first month of life.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Breeding farms with large acreage and a large number of mares and foals have greater odds of being affected by R equi pneumonia. Clinical relevance of associations with Thoroughbred breed and concrete flooring in foaling stalls remains uncertain. Desirable management factors commonly used on farms were not effective for controlling or preventing development of R equi pneumonia. This finding indicates a need to focus on host factors that influence disease development. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:404–413)