BACKGROUND: Adverse effects of, and bacterial resistance to, macrolides used to treat Rhodococcus equi infections have prompted search for clinically effective alternative antimicrobials. Liposomal gentamicin (LG) is effective against R. equi in vitro and decreases tissue concentrations of R. equi in experimentally infected mice. Effectiveness of LG treatment of foals with R. equi pneumonia, however, has not been described. HYPOTHESIS: Liposomal gentamicin is safe and effective for treating foals with R. equi pneumonia. ANIMALS: Ten foals with experimentally induced R. equi pneumonia. METHODS: Pilot treatment trial. Foals with pneumonia induced by intrabronchial instillation of R. equi were randomly allocated to receive either clarithromycin combined with rifampin (CLR + RIF) PO or LG IV, and followed by daily physical examinations and weekly thoracic ultrasonography and serum creatinine concentration determinations until the resolution of clinical signs. Treatment success was defined as the resolution of clinical signs and ultrasonographically identified pulmonary abscesses. RESULTS: All 10 foals were successfully treated. Two of 5 foals treated with LG developed azotemia within 1 week; LG was discontinued and treatment switched to CLR + RIF for these foals. None of the CLR + RIF treated foals developed azotemia. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Liposomal gentamicin IV can be effective for treatment of R. equi pneumonia, but nephrotoxicity indicates that an alternative dosing interval or route (such as nebulization) will be needed before LG is adequately safe for clinical use. Larger comparative trials will be needed to evaluate the relative efficacy of a safer LG dosage regimen.
- Adverse EffectsAntibiotic ChoicesMacrolidesNephrotoxicity