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Vet Microbiol. 1996 Feb;48(3-4):243-55.

Characterization of Escherichia coli isolated from foals.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.


Serotype, biotype, antibiogram, hemolysin production, fimbrial hemagglutinins, select toxin genes (STb, STaP, LT, slt1 and slt2) and the attaching effacing (eae) gene were determined for 99 foal strains of E. coli. E. coli from diarrheic and normal foals could not be distinguished by serotype, biotype, or antibiogram. Differences (P < or = 0.05) were observed in hemolysin production (11.5% vs 0%) and the expression of mannose-resistant hemagglutinins (23% vs 13%) among E. coli from diarrheic and healthy foals, respectively. Three of the E. coli strains from diarrheic foals were positive with probes for slt genes and one was positive for STb and LT genes. One strain from a healthy foal possessed the STb gene. As determined by the polymerase chain reaction, 8 strains possessed the eae gene. Seven of the 8 strains were from diarrheic foals and one eae-positive strain was from a healthy foal. The slt-positive strains did not possess eae genes and the eae-positive strains did not possess slt genes. These results indicate that enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli are not implicated in any substantial degree in sporadic foal diarrhea. However, the identification of slt-positive and eae-positive strains in foal feces indicate the presence of potentially virulent strains among foals.

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