Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Lung: pneumonia - bacterial

Contributor(s): Christopher Brown, Kate Hepworth-Warren, Timothy Mair, Nicola Menzies-Gow, Graham Munroe, Colin Roberts

Pulmonary abscessation and bacterial pneumonia

Signs

  • Variable but can include:
    • Dyspnea.
    • Tachypnea.
    • Increased respiratory effort.
    • Pyrexia.
    • Inappetance.
    • Lethargy.
    • Coughing.
    • Thoracic pain.
    • Submandibular lymphadenopathy.
    • Purulent nasal discharge.
    • Foul smelling breath and nasal discharge.
    • Standing with elbows abducted
    • Other signs consistent with endotoxemia.

Cause

Predisposing factors
  • Viral infection, eg EHV-1, EIV:
    • May impair immune defenses against bacteria invasion of lower airways.
  • Long distance transportation:
    • Prolonged periods of time with the horse's head tied up precludes them being able to lower their head to clear the airways of dust and debris.
  • Inflammatory diseases of the lower airways (inflammatory airway disease, recurrent airway obstruction).
  • Esophageal impaction leading to aspiration:
    • Feed and saliva can be aspirated into the lungs during esophageal impaction.
Most common causative organisms

Diagnosis

Increasing respiratory depth by occluding the nares or the use of a rebreathing bag will increase lung noise thus aiding detection of abnormalities.

Differential diagnosis
  • Viral respiratory infection (EHV-1, EIV).
  • Inflammatory airway disease.
  • Recurrent airway disease.
  • Pulmonary neoplasia.

Treatment

Prognosis

  • Pulmonary abscessation and severe bacterial pneumonia are associated with a high mortality rate necessitating early diagnosis and aggressive treatment.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Respiratory problems in your horse to give to your clients.

Pleuropneumonia

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMedandVetMedResource.
  • Toombs-Ruane L J, Riley C B et al(2015)Antimicrobial susceptibilities of aerobic isolates from respiratory samples of young New Zealand horses. J Vet Intern Med29(6), 1700-1706  PubMed.
  • Ferrucci F, Zucca E, Croci C, Di Fabio V, Martino P A & Ferro E (2008)Bacterial pneumonia and pleuropneumonia in sport horses: 17 cases (2001-2003). Equine Vet Educ20(10), 526-531VetMedResource.
  • Wilkins P A (2003)Lower airway disease of the adult horseVet Clin Equine19(1), 101-121PubMed.
  • Bertone J J (1997)Antimicrobial therapy for respiratory disease. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract13(3), 501-517PubMed.
  • Oikawa M, Takagi S, Anzai R, Yoshikawa H & Yoshikawa T (1995)Pathology of equine respiratory disease occurring in association with transport. J Comp Pathol113(1), 29-43PubMed.
  • Dixon P M, Railton, D I & McGorum B C (1995)Equine pulmonary disease - a case control study of 300 referred cases. Part 1 - Examination techniques, diagnostic criteria and diagnosis. Equine Vet J27(6), 416-421PubMed.


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