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Objective—To determine the clinical characteristics and outcome of foals with septic osteitis of the distal phalanx.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—22 foals.

Procedures—Information obtained from medical records included signalment; clinical, laboratory, and radiographic findings; treatment method; and outcome. Foals included in the study had lameness referable to the foot, radiographic evidence of localized lysis or focal loss of bone density of the distal phalanx, and suppurative discharge or necrosis of the affected bone evident at surgery. Foals with a history or evidence of penetrating wounds or subsolar abscessation were excluded.

Results—Mean age of foals at initial evaluation was 40.8 days (range, 3 to 122 days). Twenty-one (95%) foals had lameness as the primary complaint. Lesions consistent with septic osteitis of the distal phalanx localized to specific areas of the bone on the basis of radiographic and surgical findings were located on the solar margin or toe (14/22 [64%]), extensor process (5/22 [23%]), and palmar or plantar process (3/22 [13%]). Hind limbs (18/26 [69%] affected limbs) were more frequently affected. Two foals had > 1 affected limb, 2 had additional sites of osteomyelitis, and 4 had concurrent septic arthritis. Surgical debridement and regional antimicrobial perfusion were performed during general anesthesia. Extensor process lesions were not debrided. Nineteen of 22 (86%) foals survived to be discharged from hospital, and 16 horses reached racing age. Eleven of 16 had race starts, of which 8 had official race starts and 3 had unofficial race starts.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Septic osteitis of the distal phalanx should be considered as a source of lameness in foals with signs referable to the foot and does not necessarily preclude a career in racing. Although infection may occur secondary to bacterial penetration of the hoof or sole, the distal phalanx should also be considered as a potential site for hematogenous septic arthritis or osteomyelitis in foals.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To identify factors affecting the prognosis for survival and athletic use in foals with septic arthritis.


Retrospective study.


93 foals with septic arthritis.


Medical records were reviewed to obtain clinical findings, laboratory test results, radiographic findings, treatment method, and outcome. Race records for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds were evaluated to determine whether foals subsequently raced and whether they raced successfully.


43 foals had 1 affected joint, 44 foals had multiple affected joints, and number of affected joints was not recorded for 6 foals. The femoropatellar and tarsocrural joints were most commonly affected. Osteomyelitis or degenerative joint disease were detected in 59% (46/78) of foals. Failure of passive transfer, pneumonia, and enteritis were common. Foals were treated with lavage, lavage and intra-articular administration of antibiotics, lavage and arthroscopic debridement with or without partial synovectomy, or lavage and arthrotomy to debride infected bone and systemic administration of antibiotics. Seventy-three foals survived to be discharged from hospital, and approximately a third raced. Isolation of Salmonella spp from synovial fluid was associated with an unfavorable prognosis for survival and multisystem disease was associated with an unfavorable prognosis for survival and ability to race; other variables were not significantly associated with survival and ability to race.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

With treatment, the prognosis for survival of foals with septic arthritis was favorable, whereas prognosis for ability to race was unfavorable. Multisystem disease, isolation of Salmonella spp from synovial fluid, involvement of multiple joints, and synovial fluid neutrophil count ≥ 95% at admission may be of prognostic value. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:973–977)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To perform lipidomic analysis of surfactant and plasma from asthmatic and healthy horses.


30 horses with clinical signs of asthma and 30 age-matched control horses.


Detailed history, physical examination, CBC, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cytologies were obtained. Asthmatic horses were grouped based on their BALF inflammatory profile: severe equine asthma (SEA), mild equine asthma with neutrophilic airway inflammation (MEA-N), or mild equine asthma with eosinophilic airway inflammation (MEA-E). Each asthma group was assigned its own age-matched control group. Lipidomic analysis was completed on surfactant and plasma. Surfactant protein D (SP-D) concentrations were measured in serum and BALF.


SEA surfactant was characterized by a phospholipid deficit and altered composition (increased ceramides, decreased phosphatidylglycerol, and increased cyclic phosphatidic acid [cPA]). In comparison, MEA-N surfactant only had a decrease in select phosphatidylglycerol species and increased cPA levels. The plasma lipidomic profile was significantly different in all asthma groups compared to controls. Specifically, all groups had increased plasma phytoceramide. SEA horses had increased plasma cPA and diacylglycerol whereas MEA-N horses only had increased cPA. MEA-E horses had increases in select ceramides and dihydrocermides. Only SEA horses had significantly increased serum SP-D concentrations.


The most significant surfactant alterations were present in SEA (altered phospholipid content and composition); only mild changes were observed in MEA-N horses. The plasma lipidomic profile was significantly altered in all groups of asthmatic horses and differed among groups. Data from a larger population of asthmatic horses are needed to assess implications for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research