Intravascular hemolysis associated with severe cutaneous burn injuries in five horses.
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Five horses were evaluated because of severe cutaneous burn injuries following a barn fire. Gross hemolysis and morphologic changes in RBCs consistent with oxidative damage were detected in all of the horses. Of these horses, 4 became azotemic. The overall goals of treatment included wound care, correction of dehydration and provision of diuresis, control of inflammation, pain management, and prophylaxis against sepsis. After treatment, 2 horses survived and were discharged from the hospital. Red blood cell damage and hemolysis following cutaneous burn injury have been investigated in other species and appear to be a result of the release of oxygen radicals from complement-activated neutrophils. Early intervention with aggressive fluid therapy is recommended in the treatment of human burn patients and is likely to be of benefit in horses with burn injuries; a beneficial role of free radical scavengers and xanthine oxidase inhibitors has also been suggested.