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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine historical, physical examination, clinicopathologic, and postmortem findings in horses with putative uremic encephalopathy.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—5 horses with renal failure and neurologic disease not attributable to abnormalities in any other organ system.

Procedure—Medical records from 1978 to 1998 were examined for horses with renal disease and neurologic signs not attributable to primary neurologic, hepatic, or other diseases. Signalment, history, physical examination findings, clinicopathologic data, renal ultrasonographic findings, and postmortem data were reviewed.

Results—Of 332 horses with renal disease, 5 met selection criteria. Historical findings, physical examination findings, clinicopathologic data, ultrasonographic data, and postmortem findings were consistent with chronic renal failure. Swollen astrocytes were detected in all 4 horses examined at necropsy.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A single criterion was not determined to be pathognomonic for uremic encephalopathy in horses. Uremic encephalopathy should be considered as a differential diagnosis in horses with evidence of chronic renal failure and encephalopathic neurologic sign not attributable to other causes. Astrocyte swelling, which was common to all 4 horses examined at necropsy, may serve as a microscopic indicator of uremic encephalopathy in horses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:560–566)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether there is evidence of myocardial injury in horses with acute abdominal disease.

Design—Prospective case series.

Animals—18 healthy horses and 69 horses with acute abdominal disease.

Procedures—18 healthy horses had been admitted to the hospital for investigation and were assigned to group 1. Horses examined for acute abdominal disease were assigned to 3 groups: strangulating obstruction, nonstrangulating obstruction, or inflammatory disease (groups 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Heart rate, Hct, and blood lactate and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentrations were measured at initial examination. Myocardial function was assessed by echocardiographic measurement of fractional shortening and left ventricular ejection time (LVET). Heart rhythm was evaluated via ECG.

Results—The proportion of horses with high (> 0.03 ng/mL) cTnI concentration was significantly greater among horses with strangulating (9/25 [36%]) or inflammatory (9/19 [47%]) lesions, compared with healthy horses (0/18). The proportion of horses with high cTnI concentration was significantly greater among nonsurvivors (12/24 [50%]) than among survivors (10/45 [22%]). Serum cTnI concentration was positively correlated with Hct, heart rate, and blood lactate concentration and negatively correlated with LVET.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Evidence of myocardial injury was observed in horses with acute abdominal disease, and this injury was associated with severity of illness. Recognition of myocardial injury could improve treatment of acute abdominal disease in horses.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To assess the use of stored equine colostrum for the treatment of foals perceived to be at risk for failure of transfer of passive immunity (FTPI).

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—232 Thoroughbred foals and 191 Thoroughbred mares (41 mares gave birth to 1 foal on 2 occasions).

Procedures—Postpartum, presuckle colostrum samples were collected from mares; samples with a colostral refractive index (cRI) ≥ 23% were frozen (−20°C [–4°F]) and stored for ≥ 7 days but < 2 years. Foals of dams that produced colostrum with a cRI value < 20% were treated with ≥ 300 mL of stored colostrum that was thawed and administered via nasogastric tube on 1 to 4 occasions within 6 hours after parturition. Serum samples were obtained from colostrum-treated and nontreated foals 24 hours after treatment or suckling, respectively, for determination of serum IgG (sIgG) concentration.

Results—8 foals and their respective dams were excluded from the analyses. For the remaining 30 treated and 194 nontreated foals, mean ± SD sIgG concentration was 1,597 ± 574 mg/dL. Thirteen (5.8%) foals had sIgG concentrations < 800 mg/dL, of which 1 (0.4%) had an sIgG concentration < 400 mg/dL. Nine of these foals had suckled mares producing colostrum with a cRI value ≥ 20%, and 2 foals had been treated with stored colostrum.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Treatment with stored colostrum appeared to be effective for prevention of FTPI in at-risk foals. However, foals were still at risk for FTPI despite suckling of or treatment with colostrum with adequate cRI values.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To identify clinical signs, physical examination findings, results of diagnostic tests, treatments administered, and clinical outcome of neonatal foals with enterocolitis associated with Clostridium perfringens infection.


Retrospective study.


54 neonatal foals.


Most foals had acute onset of obtunded mentation, colic, or diarrhea and developed leukopenia, neutropenia, an abnormally high number of band neutrophils, toxic WBC, and hypoproteinemia within 24 hours after admission, despite high serum lgG concentrations (> 800 mg/dl). Abdominocentesis and abdominal radiography of some foals revealed exudative peritonitis and gaseous distention of the small and large intestine, respectively. Cytologic examination of feces revealed spores or gram-positive rods in 8 of 10 foals. The most common genotypes of C perfringens isolates were type A and C, alone or in combination. Treatment did not alter mortality rate for most foals that had a positive culture for C perfringens type C. Of 54 foals, 29 (54%) that had C perfringens-associated enterocolitis died. Foals that had a culture that yielded C perfringens had higher sepsis scores, IgG concentrations, and mortality rates, compared with the overall hospital population of neonatal foals.

Clinical Implications

Foals less than 7 days old that have enterocolitis associated with C perfringens infections, especially type C, have a guarded prognosis. Cytologic examination of feces to determine spore counts and detect rods may be a means for early identification of C perfringens infections. Polymerase chain reaction assays to determine genotype are important for designing preventive treatment regimens. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212:1751–1756)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association