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Equine Vet J. 1989 Jul;21(4):249-55.

Rhodococcus equi foal pneumonia: protective effects of immune plasma in experimentally infected foals.

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Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas A&M University, College Station.


The immunoprophylactic capacity of specific immune plasma was evaluated in pony foals infected experimentally with Rhodococcus equi. Immune plasma, produced by repeated parenteral administration of viable R. equi to adult horses, was harvested and frozen. Group I (six control foals) and Group II (six principal foals) received lactated Ringers solution and immune plasma respectively at three and five days of age. R. equi were aerosolised into a caudal lung lobe of all foals at seven days of age. Clinical signs, haematological alterations, immune responses, thoracic radiographs and technetium99m pulmonary perfusion scans were monitored. All foals were destroyed and complete post mortem examinations performed. All foals developed pneumonia as evidenced by clinical, radiographic and perfusion alterations, but the survival rate of principal foals was significantly (P less than 0.01) greater than that of control foals. Five control foals developed terminal disease, whereas all principal foals recovered. There was no significant (P greater than 0.05) difference in temperature response, or peripheral blood leucocyte, neutrophil or fibrinogen concentrations between groups. ELISA values for R. equi antibody were significantly (P less than 0.001) greater in principal foals following treatment, but there was no significant (P greater than 0.05) difference in IgG or IgM concentrations between groups. Results of the haemolysis inhibition assay indicated that equi factor neutralising antibodies were transferred by immune plasma to the principal foals. Post mortem examinations of five control foals destroyed at approximately three weeks post infection because of terminal disease, revealed severe pyogranulomatous pneumonia. One control and all principal foals were either free of lesions or had resolving lesions and/or minimal scar formation at three months post infection.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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