Transfusing foals with Rhodococcus equi hyperimmune plasma (REHIP) is a standard practice at many horse-breeding farms to help prevent R. equi pneumonia. At many large breeding farms, pneumonia is most commonly recognized as subclinical based on thoracic ultrasonography findings. The efficacy of REHIP transfusion and the impact of the volume of plasma transfused for reducing the cumulative incidence of subclinical R. equi pneumonia are unknown. A retrospective cohort study was conducted among foals born and residing through weaning at a large breeding farm. Foals were transfused with either 0 L (n = 2 foals), 1 L (n = 85 foals), or 2 L (n = 62 foals) of REHIP within 36 hours of birth. Volume transfused was principally based on intended use of the foals. All foals at the ranch were routinely screened using thoracic ultrasonography at 5, 7, and 9 weeks of age to detect subclinical pneumonia attributed to R. equi based on farm history. The proportion of the foals receiving < 1 L REHIP that developed subclinical pneumonia (32%; 26/82) was significantly (P = .0068; chi-squared test) greater than that among foals transfused with 2 L of REHIP (12%; 8/68). Despite the important limitations of this observational study, it provides evidence supporting the need for well-designed clinical trials to evaluate the impact of the use and dose of REHIP for preventing subclinical pneumonia. Reducing the incidence of subclinical pneumonia is important because reducing antibiotic treatment of subclinical cases will decrease selection pressure for antimicrobial resistance in R. equi.
- Plasma Transfusion
- Rhodococcus Equi