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Foal Pneumonia, Rhodococcus equi

Synonyms: Summer Pneumonia, Rattles

This is a common and severe foal pneumonia that typically affects foals at 6 weeks to a few months of age. The agent causes large abscesses to form in the lung. These require weeks of treatment with specific antibiotics that are able to penetrate into the infection. This disease is classically seen in hot, dry and dusty climates and facilities. It is more common in crowded conditions at breeding farms.

The disease can be surprisingly hard to diagnose. Routine blood work is not always diagnostic. Chest x-ray can visualize the lesions and chest ultrasound is also useful.

Affected foals develop lung abscesses that are impossible to treat without the use of particular antibiotics for long-term. These antibiotics must not only have the chemical characteristics to kill the organism, but must also be able to penetrate into the center of the abscesses.

Helpful Outside ResourcesCredible Equine Health Information on the Internet

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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