Association of pneumonia with concentrations of virulent Rhodococcus equi in fecal swabs of foals before and after intrabronchial infection with virulent R. equi. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Intragastric administration of virulent Rhodococcus equi protects foals against subsequent experimental intrabronchial (IB) infection, but it is unknown whether R. equi naturally ingested by foals contributes to their susceptibility to pneumonia. HYPOTHESIS: Fecal concentration of virulent R. equi before IB infection with R. equi is positively associated with protection from pneumonia in foals. ANIMALS: Twenty-one university-owned foals. METHODS: Samples were collected from experimental studies. Five foals were gavaged with live, virulent R. equi (LVRE) at age 2 and 4days; the remaining 16 foals were not gavaged with LVRE (controls). Fecal swabs were collected from foals at ages 28days, immediately before IB infection. Foals were monitored for clinical signs of pneumonia, and fecal swabs were collected approximately 2weeks after IB infection. Swabs were tested by quantitative PCR for concentration of virulent R. equi (ie, copy numbers of the virulence-associated protein A gene [vapA] per 100ng fecal DNA). RESULTS: Fecal concentrations of virulent R. equi (vapA) before IB infection were significantly (P<.05) lower in control foals (25 copies/100ng DNA [95% CI, 5 to 118 copies/100ng DNA) that developed pneumonia (n=8) than in healthy control foals (n=8; 280 copies/100ng DNA; 95% CI, 30 to 2552 copies/100ng DNA) or those gavaged with LVRE (707 copies/100ng DNA, 95% CI, 54 to 9207 copies/100ng DNA). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Greater natural ingestion of LVRE might contribute to protection against pneumonia among foals.

published proceedings

  • J Vet Intern Med

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Cohen, N. D., Kahn, S. K., Bordin, A. I., Gonzales, G. M., da Silveira, B. P., Bray, J. M., Legere, R. M., & Ramirez-Cortez, S. C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Cohen, Noah D||Kahn, Susanne K||Bordin, Angela I||Gonzales, Giana M||da Silveira, Bibiana Petri||Bray, Jocelyne M||Legere, Rebecca M||Ramirez-Cortez, Sophia C

publication date

  • May 2022