• foal;
  • horse;
  • pneumonia;
  • Rhodococcus equi;
  • thoracic radiographs

Our objective was to characterize the association between types of radiographic findings and outcome in foals with pneumonia caused by Rhodococcus equi. Admission lateral thoracic radiographs of 62 foals with culture-confirmed R. equi pneumonia were reviewed retrospectively. A scoring system was developed to individually assess the severity of alveolar pattern, interstitial pattern, tracheobronchial lymphadenopathy, pleural effusion, and the number of nodular opacities and cavitary lesions. Individual scores were added to obtain a total radiographic score ranging from 0 (normal) to 22. Forty-three of 62 foals (69%) survived to discharge. The median total radiographic score of nonsurvivors (14; range, 9–16) was significantly (P = 0.007) higher than that of survivors (11; range, 4–15). Foals with a total radiographic score of greater than or equal to 15 were 6.15 times (95% CI: 1.35 to 28.2) less likely to survive than foals with a lower score (P = 0.019). A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify the potential associations between specific types of radiographic lesions and outcome. The model was statistically significant (P = 0.002) and correctly classified 75.8% of foals. Only severity of alveolar pattern and number of cavitary lesions made statistically significant contributions to the model. There was no significant association between concurrent isolation of other bacteria along with R. equi and the types or severity of radiographic lesions. Based on the results of this study, severity of alveolar pattern and number of cavitary lesions are the radiographic findings significantly associated with a poor outcome in foals with R. equi pneumonia.