Rhodococcus equi -specific hyperimmune plasma administration decreases faecal shedding of pathogenic R. equi in foals

Macarena G. Sanz, Daniel S. Bradway, David W. Horohov, Timothy V. Baszler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Rhodococcus equi is the most common cause of pneumonia in young foals. Pneumonic foals are an important source of environmental contamination as they shed higher amounts of R. equi in their faeces than unaffected foals. As R. equi-specific hyperimmune plasma (HIP) lessens clinical pneumonia, we hypothesise that its use would result in decreased faecal shedding of R. equi by foals. Neonatal foals were either given HIP (n=12) or nothing (n=9, control) shortly after birth and were then experimentally infected with R. equi. Faeces were collected before and on weeks 2, 3, 5 and 7 after infection. Presence of virulent R. equi was tested using qPCR. There was strong evidence of an association between HIP administration and a decrease in faecal shedding of virulent R. equi (P=0.031 by Pearson chi-squared test). Foals in the control shed significantly more R. equi (colony-forming units/ml) than foals that received HIP (P=0.008 by Mann-Whitney rank-sum test). While our study is the first to report this additional benefit of HIP administration, future studies are needed to evaluate the implications of its use under field conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19
Number of pages1
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 6 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© British Veterinary Association 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • Rhodococcus equi
  • foal
  • hyperimmune plasma
  • pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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