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To determine the effects of transfusion of Rhodococcus equi hyperimmune plasma (REHIP) on serum concentrations of complement component 1q (C1q) and to examine the association of serum C1q and anti-rhodococcal antibodies of newborn foals with subsequent development of rhodococcal pneumonia.


Foals (n = 205) from 2 Thoroughbred breeding farms in New York transfused with REHIP between January 1, 2022, and December 1, 2022.


Blood was collected immediately before transfusion with REHIP and again from the contralateral vein immediately after transfusion. Foals were followed through weaning for clinical and ultrasonographic evidence of rhodococcal pneumonia. Serum samples were tested by ELISA for concentrations of C1q and for activity of IgG1 and IgG4/7 recognizing the virulence-associated protein A (VapA) of R equi. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between rhodococcal pneumonia and levels of C1q and anti-VapA IgG1 and IgG4/7.


REHIP significantly decreased C1q concentrations immediately after transfusion. Accounting for effects of farm and birth month, estimated odds of pneumonia were 2.1-fold (P = .0330) higher for foals with pretransfusion C1q concentrations less than or equal to the population median and 3.3-fold (P = .0051) higher for foals with posttransfusion IgG1 activity in the lower quartile.


Both C1q and IgG appear to contribute to protection against R equi, and IgG1 appears to be especially important. Increasing IgG1 concentrations targeting rhodococcal proteins in REHIP or serum of foals might improve protection against R equi foal pneumonia.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research