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  • Author or Editor: Kelsey A. Hart x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare daily endogenous cortisol production rate and the pharmacokinetics of an IV bolus of hydrocortisone between neonatal foals and adult horses.

Animals—10 healthy full-term 2- to 4-day-old foals and 7 healthy adult horses.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from each horse every 15 to 20 minutes for 24 hours for determination of 24-hour mean cortisol concentration. Afterward, dexamethasone (0.08 mg/kg) was administered IV to suppress endogenous cortisol production. Twelve hours afterward, hydrocortisone sodium succinate (1.0 mg/kg) was administered as a rapid IV bolus and serial blood samples were collected to determine hydrocortisone pharmacokinetics. Cortisol concentrations, daily cortisol production rate, and hydrocortisone pharmacokinetics were determined, and results were compared between adult horses and foals.

Results—The mean ± SD 24-hour cortisol concentration was significantly lower in foals (20 ± 4 ng/mL) than in horses (26 ± 6 ng/mL), but the daily cortisol production rate was significantly greater in foals (6,710 ± 320 ng/kg/d) than in horses (2,140 ± 400 ng/kg/d). For hydrocortisone, foals had a significantly greater volume of distribution at steady state (1.92 ± 1.11 L/kg) and total body clearance (1.39 ± 0.108 L/kg/h) and significantly lower peak plasma concentration (1,051 ± 343 ng/mL) than did horses (0.58 ± 0.15 L/kg, 0.349 ± 0.065 L/kg/h, and 8,934 ± 3,843 ng/mL, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Important differences were detected in cortisol production and metabolism between neonatal foals and adult horses consistent with lower plasma protein binding of cortisol in foals. This decrease may contribute to cortisol insufficiency during prolonged critical illness in neonatal foals.

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


OBJECTIVE To compare tear cortisol concentrations between horses and ponies with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and healthy nonaged (≤ 15 years old) and aged (≥ 20 years old) horses and to determine whether serum and tear cortisol concentrations were correlated.

ANIMALS 11 horses and ponies with PPID and 20 healthy control horses and ponies (11 nonaged and 9 aged).

PROCEDURES Paired tear and serum samples were obtained from PPID and control animals. All animals were free of active ocular disease. Tear and serum cortisol concentrations were measured with an ELISA and chemiluminescent assay, respectively. Groups were compared with Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests, and Spearman correlation analysis was used to examine relationships between tear and serum cortisol concentrations within groups.

RESULTS Median tear cortisol concentration was significantly higher in PPID animals than in aged control animals, despite comparable serum cortisol concentrations in PPID and aged control animals. Median tear-to-serum cortisol concentration ratios were also significantly higher in PPID animals than in aged control animals. Serum and tear cortisol concentrations were not significantly correlated in PPID or control animals.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Some horses and ponies with PPID had increased tear cortisol concentrations, compared with concentrations in healthy aged animals. Localized cortisol production in the tear film or altered cortisol binding dynamics could have contributed to this increase. Further studies are warranted to evaluate these mechanisms and to determine whether increased tear cortisol concentrations are associated with delays in corneal wound healing in horses and ponies with and without PPID.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To compare soil concentrations of macrolide- and rifampicin-resistant Rhodococcus equi strains (MRRE) on horse-breeding farms that used thoracic ultrasonographic screening (TUS) to identify foals with subclinical pneumonia combined with subsequent administration of macrolides and rifampin to affected foals (TUS farms) versus soil concentrations on farms that did not (non-TUS farms), determine whether the combined use of TUS and antimicrobial treatment of subclinically affected foals was associated with soil concentration of MRRE, and assess whether there were temporal effects on soil concentrations of MRRE during the foaling season.


720 soil samples and 20 completed questionnaires from 20 horse-breeding farms (10 TUS farms and 10 non-TUS farms) in central Kentucky.


A questionnaire was used to gather information from participating farms about their 2019 foaling season. Soil samples were collected during January, March, May, and July 2019 for bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing to identify any isolates of MRRE. Results were compared for TUS farms versus non-TUS farms. Linear mixed-effects modeling was used to evaluate for potential associations between the soil concentration of MRRE and the use of TUS.


Overall, the sum of the mean soil concentrations of MRRE was significantly higher for TUS farms (8.85 log10-transformed CFUs/g) versus non-TUS farms (7.37 log10-transformed CFUs/g).


Our findings indicated that farms that use TUS to identify foals with subclinical pneumonia for antimicrobial treatment select for antimicrobial-resistant R equi strains. Because prognosis is worse for foals infected with resistant versus nonresistant strains of R equi, prudent use of antimicrobials to treat foals with subclinical pulmonary lesions attributed to R equi is recommended.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association