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Keywords:

  • Coagulation;
  • Endotoxin;
  • Equine;
  • Fibrinolysis;
  • Hemostasis;
  • Neonate;
  • Sepsis

Thirteen coagulation tests evaluating hemostatic and fibrinolytic indices and serum cytokine and plasma endotoxin concentrations were obtained in 34 foals with a positive sepsis score (septic group) and 46 age-matched healthy foals. Compared to healthy foals, the prothrombin, activated partial thromboplastin, and whole blood recalcification times were significantly longer in septic foals. The fibrinogen and fibrin degradation products concentrations, percent plasminogen, alpha-2 antiplasmin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor activities, and tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 activities were greater in septic foals. Protein C antigen and antithrombin III activity were significantly lower in septic foals. Blood cultures were positive for growth and endotoxin was detected in 19 of 29 and 15 of 30 septic foals, respectively. In septicemic foals with detectable endotoxin in the plasma, the prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin times were significantly longer and the plasminogen and antithrombin III activities were significantly less than in septic foals in which endotoxin was not detected. Twenty-three of the 34 septic foals did not survive. Septic foals that did not survive were most likely to have a positive blood culture in which a gram-negative organism was isolated. Histopathologic evidence of hemorrhage was evident in 11 foals at postmortem examination and thrombosis was identified in 2 foals. The prothrombin time was significantly longer in foals that had multisite hemorrhage at postmortem examination. The results of this study indicate that clinically relevant alternations in hemostatic and fibrinolytic indices occur in neonatal foals with septicemia and that derangements can be correlated with the presence of endotoxin in plasma. Derangements in hemostatic or fibrinolytic indices were helpful in identification of septic foals with increased risk of coagulopathy, but were not helpful in predicting hemorrhage as compared to thrombus formation. Survival of septicemic foals was correlated with gram-negative bacteremia, but not with the presence of endotoxin or coagulopathy.