Spurious hypercreatininemia: 28 neonatal foals (2000–2008)


  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to
Dr. Kristin P. Chaney, Large Animal Medicine and Surgery Academic Program, St George's University, Grenada, West Indies. Email: kchaney@sgu.edu Submitted September 03, 2009; Accepted January 23, 2010.


Objectives – To (1) determine the occurrence of spurious hypercreatininemia in a population of hospitalized foals <2 days old, (2) assess the resolution of the hypercreatininemia, and (3) determine its association with survival in these foals.

Design – Retrospective case series.

Setting – 2 Referral hospitals.

Animals – Foals <2 days old with an admission creatinine >442 μmol/L (>5.0 mg/dL) from 2 referral hospitals.

Interventions – None.

Measurements and Main Results – The medical records of 33 foals were reviewed. Twenty-eight had spurious hypercreatininemia and 5 had acute renal failure. Admission creatinine was not significantly different between the 2 groups (mean [standard deviation]). The creatinine was 1,202 μmol/L (663 μmol/L) (13.6 mg/dL [7.5 mg/dL]) versus 1,185 μmol/L (787 μmol/L) (13.4 mg/dL [8.9 mg/d]) (P=0.96) in each group, respectively, though BUN at the time of hospital admission was significantly higher for acute renal failure foals (P=0.009). In the spurious group, serum creatinine at admission decreased to 504 μmol/L (380 μmol/L) (5.7 mg/dL [4.3 mg/dL]) by 24 hours, and to 159 μmol/L (80 μmol/L) (1.8 mg/dL [0.9 mg/dL]) at 48 hours, and to 115 μmol/L (44 μmol/L) (1.3 mg/dL [0.5 mg/dL]) at 72 hours. Twenty-three of 28 foals with spurious hypercreatininemia survived to hospital discharge and there was no difference in mean admission creatinine between survivors (1176 μmol/L [628 μmol/L]) (13.3 mg/dL [7.1 mg/dL]) and nonsurvivors (1308 μmol/L [857 μmol/L]) (14.8 mg/dL [9.7 mg/dL]) (P=0.67). Twenty of 28 foals had clinical signs suggestive of neonatal encephalopathy.

Conclusion – Creatinine decreased by >50% within the initial 24 hours of standard neonatal therapy and was within the reference interval in all but 1 foal within 72 hours of hospitalization. The diagnosis of neonatal encephalopathy was common in these foals.