Neonatal Septicemia Study

Septicemia is loosely defined as bacteria or bacterial components in the bloodstream. In foals, septicemia is the most common cause of death in the first week of life, noted Simon Peek, BVSc, MRCVS, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, clinical associate professor of large animal internal medicine, theriogenology, and infectious diseases at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine, at the 50th annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention in Denver, Colo., Dec. 4-8, 2004. In a study of 56 septicemic foals, he said that a sepsis score that gave a numeric value to a number of variables was the most reliable indicator of survival rate. However, foals that had bacteria cultured from blood had a lower survival rate (57%) compared to foals that didn't have a positive blood culture (72%). These survival numbers were higher than those found with previous studies.

He said that under conditions where finances allow, administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics and hyperimmune equine plasma, along with referral to a facility that can provide the intensive support care needed, might result in a positive outcome in up to 72% of all cases.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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