Lack of residual lung damage in horses in which Rhodococcus equi-induced pneumonia had been diagnosed

Dorothy M. Ainsworth From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Kathy A. Beck From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Celeste E. Boatwright From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Kimberly A. Snedden From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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William C. Rebhun From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Summary

The effect of prior Rhodococcus equi-induced pneumonia on pulmonary health was investigated in 5 horses (< 24 months old) using endoscopy, radiography, hematologic and bronchoalveolar lavage analyses, and pulmonary function testing. Rhodococcus equi-induced pnuemonia had been diagnosed in principal horses when they were foals. Diagnosis was based on positive results of transtracheal aspiration and thoracic radiography at the time of initial clinical examination. Results of reevalution of the respiratory system of these horses (R + ) were compared with those of 5 age-matched healthy horses (R −) that lacked clinical or historical evidence of foalhood pneumonia.

Significant differences in variables between the 2 groups of horses were not evident. In both groups, most horses had radiographic evidence of an accentuated bronchointerstitial pattern, although results of analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage specimens were normal and mononuclear cells predominated. Variability in results of the pulmonary function tests was observed within and between the 2 groups of horses. Only normalized dynamic lung compliance was slightly lower in the previously infected horses, but this difference was not significant. We concluded that horses previously infected with and successfuly treated for R equi-induced pneumonia do not have detectable evidence of residual lung damage.

Summary

The effect of prior Rhodococcus equi-induced pneumonia on pulmonary health was investigated in 5 horses (< 24 months old) using endoscopy, radiography, hematologic and bronchoalveolar lavage analyses, and pulmonary function testing. Rhodococcus equi-induced pnuemonia had been diagnosed in principal horses when they were foals. Diagnosis was based on positive results of transtracheal aspiration and thoracic radiography at the time of initial clinical examination. Results of reevalution of the respiratory system of these horses (R + ) were compared with those of 5 age-matched healthy horses (R −) that lacked clinical or historical evidence of foalhood pneumonia.

Significant differences in variables between the 2 groups of horses were not evident. In both groups, most horses had radiographic evidence of an accentuated bronchointerstitial pattern, although results of analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage specimens were normal and mononuclear cells predominated. Variability in results of the pulmonary function tests was observed within and between the 2 groups of horses. Only normalized dynamic lung compliance was slightly lower in the previously infected horses, but this difference was not significant. We concluded that horses previously infected with and successfuly treated for R equi-induced pneumonia do not have detectable evidence of residual lung damage.

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