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Ophthalmic lesions in neonatal foals evaluated for nonophthalmic disease at referral hospitals

Amber L. LabelleDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Ralph E. HamorDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Wendy M. TownsendDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Mark A. MitchellDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Mitzi K. ZarfossDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Carrie B. BreauxDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Sara M. ThomasyWilliam R. Pritchard Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Tiffany HallWilliam R. Pritchard Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine types and frequency of ophthalmic lesions detected in neonatal foals evaluated for nonophthalmic disease at 3 veterinary referral hospitals and to investigate associations between systemic and ophthalmic diseases in these foals.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Animals—70 foals < 30 days old.

Procedures—Complete ophthalmic examinations were performed. Signalment, clinical signs, mentation during ophthalmic examination, results of clinicopathologic tests, and diagnosis of systemic disease were recorded. Descriptive data analysis including a χ2 test for associations was performed.

Results—Most foals (39/70 [55.7%]) with systemic disease had ≥ 1 ophthalmic lesion detected. Of the 39 foals with ophthalmic disease, 24 (61.5%) had potentially vision-threatening lesions. Clinically important abnormalities included conjunctival hyperemia or episcleral injection (30/70 [42.9%]), uveitis (18/70 [25.7%]), ulcerative keratitis (13/70 [18.6%]), nonulcerative keratitis (10/70 [14.3%]), entropion (8/70 [11.4%]), retinal hemorrhage (8/70 [11.4%]), and cataract (6/70 [8.6%]). Foals with sepsis were significantly more likely to have uveitis than were those without sepsis. Foals with sepsis and uveitis were also significantly less likely to survive to discharge than were foals that had sepsis without uveitis. Acquired ophthalmic disease (detected in 37/70 [52.9%] foals) was significantly more common than congenital ophthalmic disease (detected in 9/70 [12.9%]).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ophthalmic lesions were detected in 55.7% of neonatal foals with systemic disease. Acquired ophthalmic disease was more commonly detected than congenital ophthalmic disease. Foals with sepsis were more likely to have uveitis than were foals without sepsis. A complete ophthalmic examination is indicated in neonatal foals evaluated for systemic disease.

Abstract

Objective—To determine types and frequency of ophthalmic lesions detected in neonatal foals evaluated for nonophthalmic disease at 3 veterinary referral hospitals and to investigate associations between systemic and ophthalmic diseases in these foals.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Animals—70 foals < 30 days old.

Procedures—Complete ophthalmic examinations were performed. Signalment, clinical signs, mentation during ophthalmic examination, results of clinicopathologic tests, and diagnosis of systemic disease were recorded. Descriptive data analysis including a χ2 test for associations was performed.

Results—Most foals (39/70 [55.7%]) with systemic disease had ≥ 1 ophthalmic lesion detected. Of the 39 foals with ophthalmic disease, 24 (61.5%) had potentially vision-threatening lesions. Clinically important abnormalities included conjunctival hyperemia or episcleral injection (30/70 [42.9%]), uveitis (18/70 [25.7%]), ulcerative keratitis (13/70 [18.6%]), nonulcerative keratitis (10/70 [14.3%]), entropion (8/70 [11.4%]), retinal hemorrhage (8/70 [11.4%]), and cataract (6/70 [8.6%]). Foals with sepsis were significantly more likely to have uveitis than were those without sepsis. Foals with sepsis and uveitis were also significantly less likely to survive to discharge than were foals that had sepsis without uveitis. Acquired ophthalmic disease (detected in 37/70 [52.9%] foals) was significantly more common than congenital ophthalmic disease (detected in 9/70 [12.9%]).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ophthalmic lesions were detected in 55.7% of neonatal foals with systemic disease. Acquired ophthalmic disease was more commonly detected than congenital ophthalmic disease. Foals with sepsis were more likely to have uveitis than were foals without sepsis. A complete ophthalmic examination is indicated in neonatal foals evaluated for systemic disease.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Breaux's present address is WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Center, 5019 N Sawyer Ave, Garden City, ID 83714.

Presented in part as an abstract at the 55th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Las Vegas, December 2009.

Address correspondence to Dr. Labelle (alabelle@illinois.edu).