Rhodococcus equi foal pneumonia: Update on epidemiology, immunity, treatment and prevention. Academic Article uri icon


  • Pneumonia in foals caused by the bacterium Rhodococcus equi has a worldwide distribution and is a common cause of disease and death for foals. The purpose of this narrative review was to summarise recent developments pertaining to the epidemiology, immune responses, treatment, and prevention of rhodococcal pneumonia of foals. Screening tests have been used to implement earlier detection and treatment of foals with presumed subclinical R. equi pneumonia to reduce mortality and severity of disease. Unfortunately, this practice has been linked to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant R. equi in North America. Correlates of protective immunity for R. equi infections of foals remain elusive, but recent evidence indicates that innate immune responses are important both for mediating killing and orchestrating adaptive immune responses. A macrolide antimicrobial in combination with rifampin remains the recommended treatment for foals with R. equi pneumonia. Great need exists to identify which antimicrobial combination is most effective for treating foals with R. equi pneumonia and to limit emergence of antimicrobial-resistant strains. In the absence of an effective vaccine against R. equi, passive immunisation remains the only commercially available method for effectively reducing the incidence of R. equi pneumonia. Because passive immunisation is expensive, labour-intensive and carries risks for foals, great need exists to develop alternative approaches for passive and active immunisation.

published proceedings

  • Equine Vet J

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Bordin, A. I., Huber, L., Sanz, M. G., & Cohen, N. D.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Bordin, Angela I||Huber, Laura||Sanz, Macarena G||Cohen, Noah D

publication date

  • May 2022