Objective—To identify Actinobacillus spp isolates recovered from fetuses and pericardial fluid from horses affected with mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS) and determine whether these bacterial species are the same as those isolated from clinically normal horses.
Sample Population—Isolates of actinobacilli recovered from 18 horses with pericarditis and 109 fetuses aborted by mares affected by MRLS.
Procedures—Actinobacillus spp isolates were identified to the level of species or subspecies by use of conventional phenotypic tests and biochemical and enzyme test kits. The 16S rRNA gene from selected isolates was amplified, purified, and sequenced. Sequence data were compared with sequence data for actinobacilli in GenBank.
Results—Of the 109 isolates obtained from fetuses, 14 were Actinobacillus equuli subsp equuli, 65 were A equuli subsp haemolyticus, 28 were Bisgaard taxon 10–like bacterium, and 2 were Actinobacillus genomospecies 1. Of the 18 isolates from horses with pericarditis, 4 were A equuli subsp equuli, 13 were A equuli subsp haemolyticus, and 1 was Bisgaard taxon 10–like bacterium. Comparisons with published data and GenBank data revealed that the isolates recovered from horses with MRLS were the same as those isolated from the oral cavity or alimentary tract of healthy horses.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Actinobacillus spp isolates recovered from fetuses and pericardial fluid samples of horses affected by MRLS in 2001 to 2003 were identical to Actinobacillus spp found in the oral cavity and alimentary tracts of healthy horses.
Case Description—A 4-year-old Thoroughbred mare was evaluated because of placental abnormalities and a retained placental remnant.
Clinical Findings—Microbial culture of the placenta yielded pure growth of Amycolatopsis spp. Histologic examination of the placenta revealed a focally expanding chorionitis with intralesional gram-positive filamentous bacilli and multifocal allantoic adenomatous hyperplasia on the apposing allantoic surface.
Treatment and Outcome—Treatment with lavage and oxytocin resulted in expulsion of the placental remnant within hours of parturition. The mare did not become pregnant again despite multiple breedings. The foal appeared healthy but died of complications during an elective surgical procedure at 7 weeks of age.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—To the author's knowledge, all previously confirmed cases of nocardioform placentitis have been in mares bred in the central Kentucky region. Indications that the pathogen in the mare reported here is a different species than that isolated in Kentucky suggest that this is an emerging disease. Mares with nocardioform placentitis usually do not have the same clinical signs as mares with placentitis resulting from an ascending pathogen.