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  • Author or Editor: Martin O. Furr x
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Objective—To quantify peripheral blood neutrophil apoptosis in equine patients with acute abdominal disease (ie, colic) caused by strangulating or nonstrangulating intestinal lesions and compare these values with values for horses undergoing elective arthroscopic surgery.

Animals—20 client-owned adult horses.

Procedures—Peripheral blood was collected from horses immediately prior to and 24 hours after surgery for treatment of colic (n = 10) or elective arthroscopic surgery (10), and neutrophils were counted. Following isolation by means of a bilayer colloidal silica particle gradient and culture for 24 hours, the proportion of neutrophils in apoptosis was detected by flow cytometric evaluation of cells stained with annexin V and 7-aminoactinomycin D. Values were compared between the colic and arthroscopy groups; among horses with colic, values were further compared between horses with and without strangulating intestinal lesions.

Results—Percentage recovery of neutrophils was significantly smaller in preoperative samples (median, 32.5%) and in all samples combined (35.5%) for the colic group, compared with the arthroscopy group (median, 66.5% and 58.0%, respectively). No significant differences in the percentages of apoptotic neutrophils were detected between these groups. Among horses with colic, those with strangulating intestinal lesions had a significantly lower proportion of circulating apoptotic neutrophils in postoperative samples (median, 18.0%) than did those with nonstrangulating lesions (66.3%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The smaller proportion of apoptotic neutrophils in horses with intestinal strangulation suggested that the inflammatory response could be greater or prolonged, compared with that of horses with nonstrangulating intestinal lesions. Further investigations are needed to better understand the relationship between neutrophil apoptosis and inflammation during intestinal injury.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To create a mathematical model to assist in early prediction of the probability of discharge in hospitalized foals ≤ 7 days old.

Study Design—Prospective study.

Animals—1,073 foals.

Procedures—Medical records from 910 hospitalized foals ≤ 7 days old for which outcome was recorded as died or discharged alive were reviewed. Thirty-four variables including historical information, physical examination findings, and laboratory results were examined for association with survival. Variables associated with being discharged alive were entered into a multivariable logistic regression model. Accuracy of the model was validated prospectively on data from 163 foals.

Results—Factors in the final model included age group, ability to stand, presence of a suckle reflex, WBC count, serum creatinine concentration, and anion gap. Sensitivity and specificity of the model to predict live discharge were 92% and 74%, respectively, in the retrospective population and 90% and 46%, respectively, in the prospective population. Accuracy of an equine clinician's initial prediction of the foal being discharged alive was 83%, and accuracy of the model's prediction was 81%. Combining the clinician's prediction of probability of live discharge with that of the model significantly increased (median increase, 12%) the accuracy of the prediction for foals that were discharged and nonsignificantly decreased (median decrease, 9%) the accuracy of the predication for nonsurvivors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Combining the clinician's initial predication of the probability of a foal being discharged alive with that of the model appeared to provide a more precise early estimate of the probability of live discharge for hospitalized foals.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify risk factors for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) among horses examined at 11 equine referral hospitals.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—183 horses with EPM, 297 horses with neurologic disease other than EPM (neurologic controls), and 168 horses with non-neurologic diseases (non-neurologic controls) examined at 11 equine referral hospitals in the United States.

Procedures—A study data form was completed for all horses. Data were compared between the case group and each of the control groups by means of bivariate and multivariate polytomous logistic regression.

Results—Relative to neurologic control horses, case horses were more likely to be ≥ 2 years old and to have a history of cats residing on the premises. Relative to non-neurologic control horses, case horses were more likely to be used for racing or Western performance.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that cats may play a role in the natural epidemiology of EPM, that the disease is less common among horses < 2 years of age relative to other neurologic diseases, and that horses used for particular types of competition may have an increased risk of developing EPM.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association