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Objective—To determine whether gavage of pregnant mares (housed without access to pasture) with starved eastern tent caterpillars (ETCs) or their excreta is associated with early fetal loss (EFL), panophthalmitis, or pericarditis.

Design—Randomized clinical trial.

Animals—15 mares.

Procedure—15 mares with fetuses from 40 to 80 days of gestation (dGa) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups and received 2.5 g of ETC excreta, 50 g of starved ETCs, or 500 mL of water, respectively, once daily for 10 days. Mares were housed in box stalls, walked twice daily, and not allowed access to pasture for 12 days before or during the 21-day trial.

Results—4 of 5 mares gavaged with starved ETCs (group 2) aborted on trial days 8 (2 mares), 10, and 13. No control mares or mares that received excreta aborted. Differences between the ETC group and other groups were significant. Abortion occurred on 49, 64, 70, and 96 dGa. Allantoic fluids became hyperechoic the day before or the day of fetal death. Alpha streptococci were recovered from 1 fetus and Serratia marcescens from 3 fetuses. Neither panophthalmitis nor pericarditis was seen. The abortifacient component of the ETCs was not elucidated.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These findings suggest that mares with fetuses from 40 to 120 days of gestation should not be exposed to ETCs because they may induce abortion. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 225:717–721)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To create a mathematical model to assist in early prediction of the probability of discharge in hospitalized foals ≤ 7 days old.

Study Design—Prospective study.

Animals—1,073 foals.

Procedures—Medical records from 910 hospitalized foals ≤ 7 days old for which outcome was recorded as died or discharged alive were reviewed. Thirty-four variables including historical information, physical examination findings, and laboratory results were examined for association with survival. Variables associated with being discharged alive were entered into a multivariable logistic regression model. Accuracy of the model was validated prospectively on data from 163 foals.

Results—Factors in the final model included age group, ability to stand, presence of a suckle reflex, WBC count, serum creatinine concentration, and anion gap. Sensitivity and specificity of the model to predict live discharge were 92% and 74%, respectively, in the retrospective population and 90% and 46%, respectively, in the prospective population. Accuracy of an equine clinician's initial prediction of the foal being discharged alive was 83%, and accuracy of the model's prediction was 81%. Combining the clinician's prediction of probability of live discharge with that of the model significantly increased (median increase, 12%) the accuracy of the prediction for foals that were discharged and nonsignificantly decreased (median decrease, 9%) the accuracy of the predication for nonsurvivors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Combining the clinician's initial predication of the probability of a foal being discharged alive with that of the model appeared to provide a more precise early estimate of the probability of live discharge for hospitalized foals.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify risk factors for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) among horses examined at 11 equine referral hospitals.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—183 horses with EPM, 297 horses with neurologic disease other than EPM (neurologic controls), and 168 horses with non-neurologic diseases (non-neurologic controls) examined at 11 equine referral hospitals in the United States.

Procedures—A study data form was completed for all horses. Data were compared between the case group and each of the control groups by means of bivariate and multivariate polytomous logistic regression.

Results—Relative to neurologic control horses, case horses were more likely to be ≥ 2 years old and to have a history of cats residing on the premises. Relative to non-neurologic control horses, case horses were more likely to be used for racing or Western performance.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that cats may play a role in the natural epidemiology of EPM, that the disease is less common among horses < 2 years of age relative to other neurologic diseases, and that horses used for particular types of competition may have an increased risk of developing EPM.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association