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  • Author or Editor: Perry L. Habecker x
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To analyze medical records and identify factors that veterinarians can use to prevent pulmonary aspergillosis in horses or that would enable them to diagnose it as early as possible.


Retrospective study.


29 horses.


Medical records were reviewed for horses with pulmonary aspergillosis diagnosed on the basis of characteristic postmortem findings. Information on history, clinical signs, disease progression, and postmortem findings was obtained.


25 of 29 (86.2%) horses had primary (n = 20) or secondary (5) disease compatible with loss of integrity of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The remaining 4 horses had a non-GI tract disorder; only 1 of these 4 had clinical signs associated with the respiratory tract (ie, pleuropneumonia). Although 22 (75.9%) horses had various signs of respiratory tract disorders, an antemortem diagnosis of Aspergillus pneumonia was made in only 1 horse and was suspected in only 1 other. Fungal organisms were seen histologically in tissues other than the lung in 12 (41.4%) horses.

Clinical Implications

Horses with enteritis, colitis, typhlitis, or other diseases of the GI tract that result in mucosal compromise, and horses with clinical signs of respiratory tract disease, particularly if the horse's condition is unresponsive to treatment with antimicrobial agents, should be considered at high risk of having pulmonary aspergillosis. Immunosuppression from debilitating disease may also predispose horses to aspergillosis. Because invasive pulmonary aspergillosis can be difficult to diagnose, clinicians should be aware of clinical and epidemiologic settings in which this disease would develop. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:808–811)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate the safety of sodium bisulfate for use in horse barn environments by determining its irritant effect on skin and hooves.

Animals—6 female mixed-breed ponies.

Procedure—Sodium bisulfate was applied to clipped intact skin of 6 ponies to evaluate its irritant effect after single (48 hours) and repetitive (6 h/d for 10 days) applications; similar areas of skin were used as untreated control sites. In addition, sodium bisulfate was applied to the sole of both front hooves of each pony and covered with wet gauze, and the entire hoof was covered with adhesive tape for 48 hours.

Results—Contact with moistened sodium bisulfate for 48 hours had no effect on pony skin. Contact with sodium bisulfate for 6 hours on 10 consecutive days did not cause gross changes but did cause mild to moderate microscopic changes including epidermal necrosis, hyperkeratosis, capillary congestion, edema, and diffuse mixed inflammatory cell infiltrate. All changes were limited to the epidermis and superficial dermis. Gross changes in hoof sole, signs of lameness, and increase in digital pulse pressure or pulse intensity were not detected.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Duration of contact with sodium bisulfate in this study was in excess of that expected under typical husbandry conditions. Despite this fact, gross changes in skin and hooves were not detected. Microscopic lesions were confined to the epidermis and superficial dermis. Results suggest that contact with sodium bisulfate under these conditions is safe. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1418–1421)

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


Objective—To evaluate the effect of vaccination of calves with a killed Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) vaccine on colonization of tissues following oral MAP exposure.

Animals—12 healthy Holstein calves.

Procedures—At 14 days after birth, calves received the MAP vaccine (1.0 mL, SC) or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (1.0 mL, SC [control treatment]). Each calf received 1.2 × 109 CFUs of live MAP orally 21 and 22 days after vaccination. Prior to vaccination and at subsequent intervals, a blood sample was collected for ELISA detection of antibodies against MAP and for whole blood, antigen-specific, interferon (IFN)-γ–release assay. Nine weeks after MAP challenge, calves were euthanized and various tissue samples were collected for mycobacterial culture. Interferon-γ production in prescapular lymph node cells was measured following in vitro stimulation with MAP antigens.

Results—Calves were seronegative for anti-MAP antibodies at all times. Compared with the findings in control calves, antigen-specific IFN-γ production in circulating lymphocytes and prescapular lymph node cells from vaccinated calves was significantly higher. Culture of tissues from vaccinated calves yielded significantly fewer CFUs of MAP (2,417 CFUs/g), compared with tissues from control calves (15,709 CFUs/g). Furthermore, significantly fewer tissue samples from vaccinated calves yielded MAP in culture (21.8 tissues/calf), compared with findings in control calves (27.6 tissues/calf).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Inoculation of calves with a killed MAP vaccine was associated with reduced colonization of intestinal tissues following experimental exposure to MAP. Use of the vaccine could potentially reduce transmission of MAP to calves in infected herds.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate concordance among veterinary pathologists in the assessment of histologic findings in the pars intermedia of pituitary gland sections from aged horses with mild signs suggestive of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID).

Sample Population—10 pituitary glands from aged horses.

Procedure—7 pathologists were provided with signalment, clinical signs, and a single H&E-stained pituitary gland section from 10 aged horses with mild signs suggestive of PPID. Pathologists described histologic findings for each section and stated whether findings were consistent with PPID. Agreement among pathologists and with antemortem diagnostic test results was calculated.

Results—Overall, only fair agreement was found among the pathologists as to which horses had histologic findings consistent with disease (mean ± SE kappa value, 0.34 ± 0.069). Interpretation of individual sections varied, with minimal agreement (4 or 5/7 pathologists) for 5 of 10 sections evaluated. Postmortem assessment was in agreement with an antemortem endocrine diagnostic test result 79% of the time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Validation of antemortem diagnostic testing for PPID in horses often relies on the results of postmortem histologic evaluation. The lack of consensus in histologic interpretation of pituitary glands from aged horses with mild clinical signs in our study indicates that postmortem histologic evaluation of pituitary glands is an inappropriate standard in validation of antemortem diagnostic tests for detection of early PPID. Caution should be used when interpreting diagnostic test results in horses in which early PPID is suspected. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:2055–2059)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research