Frequency of Rhodococcus equi in Feces of Mares in Central Kentucky

Stephanie Buntain, Craig Carter, Kyle Kuskie, Jacqueline Smith, Randolph Stepusin, M. Keith Chaffin, Shinji Takai, Noah Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rhodococcus equi (R equi) pneumonia is an important cause of disease and death in foals. Feces from mares can contain R equi, including virulent R equi, and thus may act as a source of the bacteria at horse breeding farms. A previous report documented that every mare at a farm in central Kentucky shed virulent R equi in at least one of four fecal samples collected serially during the periparturient period. The objective of this study was to assess the extent to which this high prevalence of fecal shedding could be replicated at other horse breeding farms. The frequency of detection of R equi and virulent R equi in fecal samples was studied among 131 mares from 24 farms in central Kentucky. The proportions of fecal samples from mares containing R equi and virulent R equi were 95% and 76%, respectively. These findings indicate that R equi and virulent R equi may be isolated with high frequency from feces of mares at breeding farms in central Kentucky, and that mares are a source of virulent R equi for the environment of their foals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-195
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Link Equine Research Endowment and a grant from the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences , Texas A&M University. Additional support was provided by the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center . We are grateful to all of the participating farms and the following veterinarians for their contributions to this study: Drs. Oscar Benavides, Luke Fallon, Charles Kidder, Michelle LeBlanc, James Morehead, John Park, Eric Peterson, H. Terry Pike, Rhonda Rathgeber, James Sautter, Sam Schalnus, John Steiner, Jeremy Whitman, Cory Williams, and Patricia Ziefle.


  • Epidemiology
  • Feces
  • Foal
  • Mare
  • Rhodococcus equi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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