Clinical efficacy of prophylactic administration of trimethoprim/sulfadiazine in a Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus infection model in ponies


J. M. Ensink, Department of Equine Sciences, PO Box 80.153, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail:


Tissue chambers, implanted subcutaneously in the neck in six ponies, were inoculated with Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus in order to determine the clinical efficacy of prophylactic administration of trimethoprim/sulfadiazine (TMP/SDZ) against this infection. The TMP/SDZ treatment consisted of one intravenous (i.v.) injection of 5 mg/kg TMP and 25 mg/kg SDZ and the same dose of TMP/SDZ per os (p.o.), both given 3 h before inoculation. The oral dose was then repeated every 12 h for 5 days. TMP/SDZ concentrations in tissue chamber fluid (TCF) were above 10 times MIC at the moment of inoculation, and they were maintained at this level or higher throughout the duration of treatment. Trimethoprim/sulfadiazine treatment resulted in a marked reduction of viable bacteria in the tissue chamber but did not eliminate the infection, resulting in abscessation from day 19 onwards in all six ponies. This shows that, even when TCF is not yet purulent, TMP/SDZ is unable to eliminate the streptococci. Therefore, TMP/SDZ should not be the antimicrobial treatment of choice in infections in secluded sites in horses.