Equine Health Update EHU Vol 20 Issue 03 - Page 40

EQUINE | CPD Article Duration of disease directly affects prognosis and the development of complications 5 . Horses with an anaerobic infection also tend to have poorer survival rates 3 . Possible complications directly related to the pleuropneumonia include: pleural adhesions, pulmonary necrosis, cranial mediastinal abcessation, bronchopleural fistula, constrictive pericarditis, endotoxamia and laminitis 10, 11 . Other sequela that may arise secondary to treatment and nursing efforts, include 3 : intra venous catheter associated thrombophlebitis, cellulitis, pneumothorax and antimicrobial associated colitis 3 . Image of extensive lung adhesions in a horse euthanized with pleuropneumonia Prevention Pre-travel prophylactic “cocktails’ are often administered to horses before long distance travel. This is questionable practice as pre-travel “once- off” antibiotic prophylaxis has no effect on LRT secretion accumulations or bacterial population 4 . However repeated antibiotic administration, taking drug half-life 40 into account, may assist in reducing pleuropneumonia incidence 2 . This could be considered for "high risk" horses travelling long distances. The identification of a sick animal prior to travel and head position during long distance travel seem to be more protective 2 . It is also recommended that an overnight stable rest for every 12 -16 hours of travel 1 and a mandatory stop after every 4-6 hours of travel 18 be provided during long tips. Trucking companies should be further encouraged to only loosely tie the horse’s heads to enable a greater freedom of movement 1 and to feed hay from the floor 1 . Administration of NSAIDs or corticosteroids prior to travel should be strictly avoided 18 as this could delay the onset and detection of pyrexia and therefore the identification of a sick horse. Naso gastric tube (NGT) administration of 6-8 liters of water has been strongly advised prior to travel 1 as this may assist in preventing dehydration and reduced mucocilliary clearance 1 associated with poor water intake during a long journey. Early post travel clinical examinations are advisable 1 to allow identification of affected horses as soon as possible. As far as possible horses travelling should be adequately vaccinated against respiratory viral conditions such as EHV and EI 3 and should be healthy prior to travel. Conclusion History and clinical signs may indicate a diagnosis of pleuropneumonia. Thoracic ultrasound, thoracocentesis and TTA sampling are important diagnostic tests that will allow appropriate broad spectrum antimicrobial therapy to be selected. Pleural drainage, analgesics and good nursing are required to help the horse recover. Timeous and correct treatment may enable the affected horse to recuperate fully and return to its intended use successfully. • Equine Health Update •