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Abstract

Objective—To identify foal-related risk factors associated with development of Rhodococcus equi pneumonia among foals on farms with endemic R equi infection.

Design—Prospective case-control study.

Animals—220 foals at 2 equine breeding farms in Texas during a 2-year period.

Procedure—Information collected for each dam included age, time housed on the farm prior to parturition, whether there were any peripartum illnesses, parity, and health of previous foals. Information collected for each foal included breed, sex, gestational age, month and year of birth, location of birth, type of flooring and bedding in stall, postpartum management and preventive health care, passive immunity status, supplementation of immunoglobulins, exposure to other farms or foals affected with R equi pneumonia, stall and pasture exposure, commingling with other mare-foal pairs, age at weaning, and whether the foal developed R equi pneumonia.

Results—32 of the 220 (15%) foals developed R equi pneumonia, of which 4 (13%) died. Foals at 1 of the 2 farms and foals born during the second year of the study were more likely to develop R equi pneumonia. Foal-related factors that were examined were not significantly associated with risk of R equi pneumonia in multivariate analyses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that there are farm- and year-related effects on the risk that foals will develop R equi pneumonia. Other foal-related factors significantly associated with R equi pneumonia were not identified. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1791–1799)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the sensitivity and specificity of 5 serologic assays used to diagnose Rhodococcus equi pneumonia in foals and to determine whether any of the assays could be used to identify affected foals prior to the onset of clinical signs or to differentiate between affected and unaffected foals when clinical signs first become apparent.

Design—Nested case-control study.

Animals—26 foals.

Procedure—Serum samples were obtained from all foals at 2, 4, and 6 or 7 weeks of age. Additional samples were obtained from affected foals at the time of diagnosis of R equi pneumonia and from agematched unaffected foals. Samples were tested with 3 ELISA, an agar gel immunodiffusion assay, and a synergistic hemolysis inhibition assay.

Results—Sensitivity and specificity data indicated that none of the assays could be used to reliably differentiate affected from unaffected foals at any testing period. Proportions of foals that had an increase in test values between paired samples collected at 4 and 6 or 7 weeks of age were not significantly different between affected and unaffected foals. For all assays, result values increased significantly over time; however, the rate of increase was not significantly different between affected and unaffected foals.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that serologic assays, whether performed on single or paired samples, cannot be used to reliably establish, confirm, or exclude a diagnosis of R equi pneumonia in foals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:825–833)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association