• Open Access

Bacteremia in Equine Neonatal Diarrhea: A Retrospective Study (1990–2007)


Corresponding author: P.A. Wilkins, New Bolton Center, 382 West Street Road, Kennett Square PA 19348; e-mail: pwilkins@vet.upenn.edu


Background: Bacteremia in sick foals is associated with survival, but the association of bacteremia and diarrhea is not reported.

Hypothesis: Neonatal foals with diarrhea will commonly be bacteremic.

Animals: One hundred and thirty-three neonatal foals.

Methods: Records of all foals <30 days of age presenting with diarrhea between January 1990 and September 2007 were reviewed.

Results: Sixty-six of 133 foals (50%) were bacteremic at admission, with 75 isolates from the 66 samples. The blood culture from a further 18 foals (13.5%) grew coryneform bacteria. Nine foals (6.8%) had 2 or more organisms grown on blood culture. One foal had 5 different organisms, interpreted as contamination. Forty-eight foals (36%) had no growth on admission blood cultures. No cultures isolated fungal organisms. Excluding coryneform bacteria, 43 isolates (57%) were Gram-negative organisms and 32 isolates (43%) were Gram-positive organisms. The most common isolate was Enterococcus spp. (22 isolates, 29%), followed by Pantoea agglomerans (13 isolates, 17%). IgG concentration at admission was not associated with blood culture status. Blood culture status was not associated with survival to hospital discharge.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Bacteremia is common in neonatal foals with diarrhea. Decisions regarding antimicrobial selection should be made with these differences in mind.