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Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract. 2004 Apr;20(1):41-61.

Sepsis in adults and foals.

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Center for the Study of Host Resistance, Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, McGill University Health Center, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Room L11-513, Montreal, Qu├ębec H3G 1A4, Canada.


Sepsis develops in horses when the host response to the invading pathogens is not properly balanced according to the severity of the insult. Several clinical conditions frequently encountered in equine practice may be associated with the development of sepsis and have the potential to progress to more severe forms, such as severe sepsis, MODS, and septic shock. Consequently, it is important for equine practitioners to be aware of the manifestations,pathophysiology, and treatment of sepsis. Although enormous progress has been made in recent years in our understanding of the pathophysiology of sepsis. more work remains to be done in improving basic critical care guidelines and basic monitoring in equine intensive care units and in critically evaluating potential equine sepsis therapy. Fortunately, we can learn from the important advances made recently in the treatment of human sepsis patients;hence, rapid progress may be expected in a near future, especially as more and more veterinarians show interest in the discipline of equine critical care. With the completion of several genome projects and the availability of high-throughput genetic techniques, one hopes that we will further refine our understanding of the events underlying the development of severe sepsis and septic shock, which could lead to more appropriate therapeutic intervention targeted to each individual according to the state of the immune response in that horse.

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