The Limulus amoebocyte lysate assay was used to test for the presence of endotoxin in 37 clinical cases of equine colic. Positive plasma titres were detected in 10 cases and the presence of endotoxin was significantly correlated with a high heart rate, a high packed cell volume and a poor prognosis. High levels of endotoxin were detected in gut contents taken from several sites in the gastrointestinal tract of normal horses.
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