Rhodococcus infection in foal

wickedwilfred

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I wonder if anyone has experience of raising a foal post-rhodococcus infection. I have a 4.5 month old colt who developed the infection at the age of 2-3 weeks and I understand that this infection develops at the time of birth through the umbilical cord. As we caught it early, our foal responded well to treatment, but was on a course of aggressive human antibiotics for 8 weeks, which required gut protection and pro and pre biotics. He now looks great, although sleeps a lot and as well as his mum, we are feeding him a small amount three times a day of a mixture of creep pellets, stud mix, Dodson & Horrell's Suregrow, plus Equizest Maximal Stud, which is an amazing supplement. I have also been advised that 4g of Vitamin C a day would help the recovery of his white blood cell count, which I have been advised, will take some time. I am now monitoring him by regular temperature checks, which have been consistently normal for several weeks now and I am holding off yet another blood test or a scan, all the time he seems to be making good progress, as this would involve the disruption and stress of a visit to the clinic. As it is the first time I have had to deal with this, it would be interesting and helpful to hear other experiences and the prognosis.
 

JFTDWS

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I understand that this infection develops at the time of birth through the umbilical cord.
Interesting post. Can I ask what part of the UK you're in, and what sort of horse, just for my personal curiosity? I have never had an animal with R. equi but it would be fair to say I have a degree of professional interest in it.

Infection is usually thought to be environmental, rather than umbilical - the bacterium lives in dry, dusty soil, which the foal breathes into its lungs causing infection. If you've made it to this stage OK, prognosis should be pretty good in most cases - although there is some evidence that suggests racehorses who've suffered as foals are less likely to race successfully as adults (i.e. some loss of performance as adults). But unless he's aimed at the National, that probably won't be much of an issue! Good luck.
 

wickedwilfred

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Sorry it has taken so long to come back to you on your question. Actually, we live in SW France and I am told that it is common for rhodococcus equi to exist in stud farms and it is usually picked up through the umbilical cord at birth. He's doing very well now and yes, I did want to enter him for the Grand National, but may be now it will just have to be the Gold Cup.
 
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