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Can J Vet Res. 1986 Oct;50(4):479-84.

Quantitative fecal culture for early diagnosis of Corynebacterium (Rhodococcus) equi enteritis in foals.


Quantitative culture of Corynebacterium (Rhodococcus) equi from feces of 17 foals on a farm (A) with an endemic C. equi infection problem and 26 foals on a farm (B) without the disease in the past decade was done with a selective medium at weekly or monthly intervals from April to August of 1984. Corynebacterium equi was observed in the feces of 16 of 17 foals on farm A, and 19 of 26 foals on farm B. The mean viable count of C. equi in one gram of feces was 4.1 +/- 3.7 (log10) on farm A, and 3.9 +/- 3.4 (log10) on farm B. Corynebacterium equi was recovered from feces of foals as young as two weeks old. Almost all foals at an age between two to four weeks shed the bacteria in the feces. During the observation period two foals showed clinical signs: fever, diarrhea, and cough, at four or five weeks old. At the same time the bacterial count per gram of feces increased from 4 to 7 or 8 (log10). They shed large number of bacteria in the feces and continued to show the clinical signs until death at 10 or 11 weeks old. One of the foals was diagnosed as having had C. equi enteritis and pneumonia by the postmortem recognition of lesions with bacteriological confirmation. The quantitative culture of the feces of foals at weekly intervals after birth on farm A was found to be very useful as an aid in early diagnosis of C. equi enteritis in foals.

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