Objective—To determine concentrations of cytokine mRNA in horses with exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) after racing.
Procedures—Following tracheobronchoscopy, the severity of EIPH was graded (scale of 0 to 4), and venous blood samples were collected from 10 horses in each grade. After RNA isolation and cDNA synthesis, real-time PCR assay was conducted to detect cytokinespecific mRNA for interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, and IL-10; interferon (INF)-γ; and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α.
Results—Neither location nor grade of EIPH affected the expression of IL-1 and INF-γ. There was significantly greater overall expression of IL-6 mRNA at sea level, with significantly more IL-6 expressed in horses with grade 4 EIPH than in horses with grade 0, 1, or 2 EIPH. At a high altitude, no difference was detected for IL-6 expression among the various EIPH grades. There was significantly greater overall expression of TNF-α mRNA at a high altitude; however, there was no difference within the various grades of EIPH. Expression of IL-10 was significantly affected by grade of EIPH because horses with grade 3 EIPH expressed significantly more IL-10 mRNA than did horses with grade 0 or 2 EIPH; this expression was not affected by location.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At sea level, increased IL-6 expression was associated with more severe EIPH, and altitude may affect gene expressions of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α and anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-6. Studies on protein concentrations of cytokine expression are needed. The pathophysiologic importance of these findings remains to be explained.
Case Description—15 llamas and 34 alpacas between 3 weeks and 18 years old with fecal oocysts or intestinal coccidial stages morphologically consistent with Eimeria macusaniensis were examined. Nineteen of the camelids were admitted dead, and 30 were admitted alive. Camelids admitted alive accounted for 5.5% of all camelid admissions during this period.
Clinical Findings—Many severely affected camelids had signs of lethargy, weight loss, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Camelids with clinical infection also commonly had evidence of circulatory shock, fat mobilization, and protein loss. Nonsurviving camelids also had evidence of shock, edema, bile stasis, renal insufficiency, hepatic lipidosis, muscle damage, relative hemoconcentration, and sepsis. Postmortem examination frequently re-vealed complete, segmental replacement of the mucosa of the distal portion of the jejunum with coccidial meronts and gamonts. For 17 of 42 camelids, results of initial fecal examinations for E macusaniensis were negative.
Treatment and Outcome—Most camelids admitted alive were treated with amprolium hydrochloride, plasma, and various supportive treatments. Fifteen of the 30 treated camelids died or were euthanized.
Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that E macusaniensis may be an important gastrointestinal tract pathogen in camelids of all ages. Clinical signs were frequently nonspecific and were often evident before results of fecal examinations for the parasite were positive. As with other coccidia, severity of disease was probably related to ingested dose, host immunity, and other factors. The clinical and herd relevance of positive fecal examination results must be determined.