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Treatment and prevention of Rhodococcus equi in foals
  1. Lucjan Witkowski
  1. Laboratory of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Warsaw, Poland
  1. email: lucjan_witkowski{at}

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Rhodococcus equi is an intracellular, facultative, Gram-positive coccobacillus that is ubiquitous in soil. It is also one of the most common causes of pneumonia in foals and has a major financial impact on the horse industry worldwide due to its high morbidity and mortality and the costs associated with treatment.1,2

Epidemiological evidence suggests that foals become infected early in life, and it is generally accepted that infection is established through the inhalation of airborne dust containing R equi.3,4 Foals exhibiting clinical signs are thought to be the main source of R equi in the environment as they shed higher concentrations of R equi in their faeces than subclinically infected foals or infected adult horses.5

It is known that indoor housing of foals significantly increases the risk of R equi infection compared with outdoor housing due to the higher concentrations of airborne particles present.6–8 However, our understanding of the risk factors for the development of R equi pneumonia is limited.

On many farms, thoracic ultrasonography is used to screen foals for the early stages of R equi …

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