Association of pneumonia in foals caused by Rhodococcus equi with farm soil geochemistry. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To quantify and compare geochemical factors in surface soils from horse-breeding farms with horses with pneumonia caused by Rhodococcus equi (affected farms) and horse-breeding farms with no history of pneumonia caused by R equi (unaffected farms). SAMPLE POPULATION: Soil from 24 R equi-affected farms and 21 unaffected farms. PROCEDURE: Equine veterinary practitioners throughout Texas submitted surface soil samples from areas most frequented by foals, on R equi-affected and unaffected horse-breeding farms in their practice. Soil samples were assayed for the following factors: pH, salinity, nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper. Median values for all factors were recorded, and differences between affected and unaffected farms were compared. RESULTS: Significant differences in soil factors were not detected between affected and unaffected farms; hence, there was no association between those factors and R equi disease status of the farms. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The surface soil factors monitored in this study were not significant risk factors for pneumonia caused by R equi. As such, it is not possible to determine whether foals on a given farm are at increased risk of developing disease caused by R equi on the basis of these factors. Data do not support altering surface soil for factors examined, such as alkalinization by applying lime, as viable control strategies for R equi.

author list (cited authors)

  • Martens, R. J., Cohen, N. D., Chaffin, M. K., & Waskom, J. S.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • January 2002