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Success Stories

Purpura Hemorrhagica

Hoe Down Dash
In January of 2017, Hoe Down Dash’s owner William discovered his horse with severe limb, ventral and muzzle edema, a bloody nose and loud respiratory sounds. Hoe Down was very uncomfortable and unwilling to move; William promptly called LBEMC to have him evaluated.

Dr. Emma Deane responded on an emergency basis to assess Hoe Down Dash. He was visibly uncomfortable in his stall with an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate. He was pawing the ground and was unwilling to move. As seen in the images, Hoe Down had severe limb swelling and edema in all 4 limbs, severe ventral and limb edema, and edema around his muzzle and lips. The swellings were painful to the touch and there was serous discharge around his pasterns and coronary bands of each limb. Hoe Down also had serosanguinous (blood tinged) nasal discharge (as seen in the image), loud respiratory sounds and small pinpoint hemorrhages (petechiations) on his mucous membranes.

A full blood panel showed evidence of a chronic infection. His globulins (or antibodies), his white cell count, and his fibrinogen (a marker of inflammation) were all elevated supporting the diagnosis of an ongoing bacterial infection. Hoe Down had a history of an abscess on his ventral abdomen approximately 1 month prior, and coincidentally, another horse on the property had been diagnosed with Pigeon Fever, a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis.

Based on Hoe Down’s blood-work, history of an abscess and severe clinical signs, Hoe Down was treated for purpura hemorrhagica, an immune medicated reaction that can occur 3-4 weeks after exposure to certain pathogens, including C.pseudotuberculosis.

His treatment consisted of a long course of IV and oral antibiotics to fight the infection and steroids to suppress his immune response. He was also treated with Banamine, an anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Besides the medications, Hoe Down also required daily nursing care for the skin that sloughed around his pasterns and coronary band. This required daily bandaging to reduce the edema formation and supplying his food in an elevated feeder to prevent muzzle edema.

With aggressive and early medical therapy and nursing care from his owner, Hoe Down made a full recovery and after 4 weeks is back to his normal routine!

What is purpura hemorrhagica?

Purpura Hemorrhagica is an immune mediated disorder resulting in a severe vasultits (inflammation and damage of the blood vessels) which allows fluid to leak into the tissues. This leads to very distinct clinical signs that include head, ventral and limb edema, petechiations of the mucous membranes, and serum leakage and necrosis of the affected skin. Although these clinical signs are visible when associated with the skin, purpura can also cause similar damage to the internal organs such as the kidneys, muscles and lungs.

The outcome or purpura is varied and depends on the severity of clinical signs and time to treatment. Early recognition and treatment is critical for survival.

The syndrome has been classically associated with the bacteria that causes Strangles, Streptococcus equi equi; however, it has also occurred in horses with a history of Pigeon Fever (Corynebacterium psuedotuberculosis), Influenza, Equine Herpes Virus1,and post vaccination with the Strangles vaccine.

Definitive diagnosis of the disease involves clinical signs, standard blood test, a high degree of suspicion based on the presence of predisposing infection and, in some cases, a skin biopsy of the affected skin. Streptococcus equi equi and Corynebacterium psuedotuberculosis titers are often submitted.

Treatment involves dampening down the immune response with a steroid and treating the underlying cause. Horses are often placed on antimicrobials to treat the inciting cause and to protect them against further infection while on immunosuppressive steroids. Supportive care is also important to treat any additional complications and improve patient comfort.

As in Hoe Down Dash’s case, purpura hemorrhagica can have a good prognosis if treated promptly. It is not a common disease but can have serious consequences and we are so  pleased that Hoe Down pulled through!

A Blind Mare Gives Birth to Her “Prime Time” Foal

Newborn foals sometimes require treatment. The joy and excitement of a new foal in the barn can quickly turn to stress and worry for all those involved. But, the challenges are even greater when the mare is blind. Felica, a sixteen-year-old Hanoverian mare is a valuable mare in her owner’s breeding program. After uveitis took her sight in one eye and glaucoma in the other, her owners decided it was still possible to breed their blind mare. Her foal arrived mid-afternoon right when he was due, earning him the name Prime Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Once the mare had foaled we knew we had a challenge with the foal’s ability to stand on his own due to laxity in his hind limbs,” says Sandy his owner. The mare also wanted to stand right over the top of her new foal forcing the owners to stay with the pair around the clock to help the baby stand to nurse and protect him from the blind mare. Within a day, it was apparent he wasn’t properly passing his first stools, called meconium, and straining to urinate. They called out the ambulatory team from Loomis Basin Equine to begin treatment in the field.

 

By the next morning, when the colt had not passed any feces and had a distended abdomen he was referred to the clinic. “I thought they must be filled with dread having to take on a large, blind mare with her foal away from home in a hospital setting,” Sandy admits. But, the clinic is prepared for such situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mare and foal were received into the neonatal intensive care facility. Prime Time had his own six-foot by five-foot box with a padded floor and sides three and a half feet high over which Felicia, the mare could nuzzle her foal. In his box, the foal could be extensively treated. Through their five day stay, he was catheterized, given intravenous fluids, nutrition, and plasma. Once the meconium impaction had passed, he was gradually reintroduced to nursing. Felicia had tolerated her situation well, even allowing the staff to continue to milk her. Despite being blind, the mare did very well throughout her stay remaining calm and content. Her colt also showed improvement in the laxity of his hind limb tendons.

 

 

 

 

 

It was time to continue the care at home. Sandy built a similar stall separating the foal in a railed box in the stall with his mother. “We could leave them alone and know she wouldn’t step on the baby,” explains Sandy. It facilitated their continued regimen of medicating, and cleaning his umbilical stump. Although he continued to improve, the colt was still at risk for complications and infections. “Unfortunately, the mare did not get the concept of allowing the baby to nurse through the rails of his little box. So, we had to stay on a schedule to supervise his nursing,” Sandy adds. Another adjustment was in the works. “We moved the pair into our indoor arena. With more space, she would stay a safe distance from the colt when he was laying down. We tied a bell to the baby so she could get used to his movements and feel confident where he was.”

 

 

 

Eventually, the pair moved to an outdoor corral, then a pasture. When it was time to wean, Sandy says the foal quickly took to his new companions, but the mare did not like the separation. “I think having a foal was the happiest time for her since going blind. She was not alone and the bond with the foal didn’t require sight to feel his company,” Sandy says adding that they intend to breed the mare again hoping for a less complicated start, but with a toolbox of strategies and the ready help of the staff and doctors at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center.

 

 

 

Bella’s Blunder

As a horse owner one of our biggest fears is to hear a commotion from the pasture and run out to find our horse sick or injured. Bella is an 11-year-old quarter horse mare who found herself in this exact predicament one fall morning. A morning of pasture turnout with her herd mate quickly became a very serious situation when Bella came barreling down the hill and was unable to stop in time. Owners, Linda and Steve, heard a loud noise and came out to find the gate off the hinges. Bella had sustained a severe laceration across her entire under abdomen. They quickly recognized the serious nature of the situation and called Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center.

Dr. Grace Monmaney responded that morning to find that Bella had sustained a serious laceration and was in distress. Upon presentation Bella was quiet and alert, covered in sweat and had an elevated heart rate of 60bpm (normal range is 28-40bpm). There was a large horizontal laceration extending from sternum to flank region on her right abdomen. The wound dissected through two layers of abdominal musculature exposing ribs and internal abdominal musculature. (There are three layers of abdominal muscles and Bella had lacerated through two of them.) This left only one layer of muscle between the outside world and her intestines, a very frightening sight indeed!

Images of the initial injury approximately 1 hour after traumatic incident. Bella’s tail would be oriented left and her head is to the right. The pictures are taken from her right side and shows the extent of her wound.

bella-before-1 bella-before-2

Dr. Grace knew she had her work cut out for her that afternoon, but quickly got to work clipping, cleaning, lavaging and suturing. All-in-all it took 5.5 hours and 12 packages of suture material to put Bella back together again.

Top: Wound after 5.5 hours of suturing. Bottom: Bella, in her belly band, eating a well-deserved bran mash after standing still for her laceration repair.

bella-progress-1

bella-progress-2

Due to the severe nature of Bella’s wound she was facing a very long road to recovery. She required an abdominal bandage to prevent her weakened abdominal musculature from herniating. She also required a course of injectable and then oral antibiotics as well as Banamine for pain management. In the days following her injury, Bella was understandably sore, but bright with a great appetite. She also started to figure out how to lay down and rest! This made us all a bit nervous at first!  After 27 days, lots of love and care, and some minor back soreness from the hernia belt, Bella was able to have her sutures removed. Much to everyone’s delight you could hardly tell that Bella had sustained a serious wound.

Bella’s right side at time of suture removal; 27 days post-injury.

bella-healed

All-in-all Bella’s recovery period was 3 months; similar to the recovery period for a colic surgery. October 24th will mark one year since that terrifying day. Thankfully Bella’s owners acted quickly during this situation and got Bella the help she needed. Together with the veterinarians of Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center, they took excellent care of Bella during her recovery period. Bella is now back to herself and doing what she loves; a bit of trail riding, some horse camping and serving as a lesson horse for the neighbor’s granddaughter. Bella’s mom, Linda, reports Bella has minimal scarring with just a slight convex area where the deepest portion of the laceration occurred. Bella’s story goes to show that keeping calm and getting veterinary care in a timely manner, along with excellent follow-up care, can have a very successful outcome even with severe wounds. Happy trails Miss Bella, we are glad you are back under saddle once again!

Rylie’s Recovery

Rylie’s Recovery
By Lincoln Every, DVM

Rylie (“Rubign’s Song”), an Oldenberg foal owned by Cindy Wilkins, was first seen by our LBEMC ambulatory service after experiencing lethargy for four days.  She had been born 3 months earlier and was nursing from her mother, Pressley (“Perfect Song”).  Normally an active, rambunctious foal, Rylie’s lethargic, depressed behavior was concerning to her owners. After examining  Rylie and sensing the severity of her illness, Dr. Kelsey Shaw referred Rylie and Pressley to our hospital.  When Rylie arrived, she was depressed and had a serious fever.  The intensive care doctors performed an ultrasound and collected fluid from her abdomen which showed significant amounts of pus.  Rylie was thus diagnosed with septic peritonitis, a severe condition that can be caused by systemic infection, trauma, or many other causes that can lead to death if not treated quickly.

Pressley and Rylie

In ICU



To treat Rylie, the hospital service kept her and her mother for several days in one of our air-conditioned ICU stalls, treating her with a very specific antibiotic regimen, banamine, and IV fluids until her condition improved.  Very slowly, her fevers dissipated, and she began to return to her normal self.   She became bright and alert and her diagnostic tests continued to show that Rylie was adequately responding to treatment.  After making significant strides in the hospital Rylie and Pressley were able to return home. Rylie went home on her antibiotic regimen and gastrogard and has continued to do well with a full recovery to her spunky self!

Cindy and Rylie heading home

Cindy and Rylie Heading Home



Spunky Rylie

At Home

Happy at Home

Good as New

Pacheco-a great story

Anatomy of a Rescue

Dr. Bob Morgan

There are many good souls among the horse owners of our practice.  The examples of people who are willing to step up and assume the care of horses who have been abandoned by people who are either unable or unwilling to continue as caretakers are plentiful.  Most of these rescues happen quietly and go unrecognized, but it may serve as salute to all those silent rescuers to chronicle the case of Pacheco, a rescue in which LBEMC had a small, but happy involvement.

Pacheco, an Arabian stallion of about 18 years of age, was abandoned at San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area on State highway 152 in Merced County.  It’s more than a 2 hours drive from Placer County.   The horse had been running free in the park for at least 2 weeks and was eventually captured by Maintenance Chief Mike Stanley and Acting Sector Manager Liz Steller.  They took the horse to the adjacent Pacheco State Park where there are corrals and shelters — which is how he came to be named Pacheco.

Liz, Lee and Pacheco

Liz, Lee and Pacheco

Pacheco was allowed to be temporarily housed at Pacheco State Park, being fed and cared for by former park ranger and superintendent Lee Sencenbaugh for over two months while parks staff tried to place Pacheco with a rescue outfit.  Lee had also contacted county animal control for help with housing and placement.  When the county officials had no room for another abandoned horse, Liz reached out to her friend Laurie Valentine for ideas.  Laurie, a client of LBEMC, contacted Dr. Bob Morgan to see if there were any Placer County rescues that could step in.  By incredible good fortune, Dr. Morgan was seeing a horse for Melissa Reali who mentioned she was starting a horse rescue based in Lincoln.  Melissa talked to Laurie and the match was made.  Melissa, along with Lisa Smith, drove to Pacheco State Park, spent untold hours loading Pacheco,and brought him to Lincoln.

 Pacheco turned out to be a star.  He quickly adapted to his new caretakers and was gelding-like in his approach to people.  But he needed some additional help before he could be adopted to a suitable permanent home.  His stallion status had to end:

Dr. Morgan gelding Pacheco

Dr. Morgan ending the stallion status

 

His teeth were in need of serious adjustments (Laurie Valentine donated 250# of Stable Mix to help until his dental work was completed), and his vaccination and deworming status had to be dealt with.  This was accomplished by Melissa and Freedom Horse Rescue.

Freedom Horse Rescue

Very soon after the completion of his “makeover,” Pacheco was able to go home with his new “Mom,” Starr Nadin Craft whose smile stands in for the collective smiles of all who participated in this adventure.

Starr and Pacheco

Pacheco and his new “mom”

Dixie’s 2012 Filly

by Dr. Emily Wilson

It was a cold December morning when our ambulatory service was called out to see a newborn foal that was having trouble rising and had not been visualized nursing. On arrival Dixie, a maiden Tennessee Walker mare, was anxiously trying to tend to her new palomino filly that was born sometime in the early morning outside unobserved. On physical exam, the filly had a strong suckle reflex but she appeared generally weak, hypothermic, and unable to stand without assistance. Due to her lack of colostrum intake, progressive weakness, and risk of infection the owners elected to bring her to the hospital for treatment and further testing. 

On arrival at the hospital, a complete blood panel was performed, which showed a very low blood glucose concentration as well as high muscle enzyme levels. An intravenous catheter and a feeding tube were placed to supply her with nutrition, fluids, and antibiotics. Intensive, round the clock supportive nursing care was a key factor in helping  Dixie’s filly regain her strength. The foal’s blood selenium concentration was tested due to her increased muscle enzymes and found to be very low. 

White muscle disease, which is caused by selenium deficiency, can be seen in all ages of horses. The most profound effects are often seen in newborn foals who will show extreme weakness. One of the keys to treating selenium-deficient foals is to give them injectable Selenium in order to rapidly and effectively boost their selenium levels. It is also important to address the dietary supplementation of both the mare and the foal. Follow up monitoring of their selenium levels is important in young foals, as they may need additional injectable selenium supplementation. In areas where soils are deficient in selenium (which is the majority of Northern California), hay can be tested to check for adequate levels, and feed supplements are available to make up for inadequate hay levels.

Dixie’s 2012 filly has done very well at home and she continues to grow and thrive. She has now graduated to daily turnout with Dixie and is enjoying being a regular rambunctious foal. All of the horses on the property are now being supplemented to avoid any further problems with selenium deficiency. In general, selenium deficiency can cause chronic muscle problems, decreased immunefunction, pregnancy loss, etc.  If you have any concerns about your horses, a simple and inexpensive blood test can determine their current level and if they require supplementation. Selenium can be a problem if over-supplemented as well, so please contact us if you have any questions regarding proper supplementation. 

Dr. Fielding assisting foal

Dr. Fielding assists a weak foal to it's waiting stall.

Receiving fluids

Dixie's filly receives IV fluids and nutrition via a naso-gastric tube.

Able to stand

Curious mom with filly now able to stand.

Ready to go home

One week after arrival - all dressed up and ready to go home!

8 months later Dixie’s filly is doing great.
Her name is Cocoa (Bud’s Chocolate Drop)

Cocoa

Cocoa

Cocoa is all grown up

She’s all grown up!

Impression’s Battle of the Potomac

“I don’t know why she swallowed the fly!”

By Diana Rhodes, DVM

Impression in the ICU unit

This is the story of Impression, a 20-year-old Arabian mare, belonging to our very own Dr. Jill Higgins.  Impression is retired and spends most of her time in Northern California in a small town close to Lake Almanor.  She lives on a large green pasture that includes a few small streams, a fact that will become important later on in her story.

A day before she presented to us, she appeared to be mildly colicky, slightly depressed, inappetant and had low-grade fevers.  She was administered a dose of phenylbutazone (Bute) to help bring down her fever, and she was transported to LBEMC.

On presentation she was alert and her temperature was in the normal range.  Her mucous membranes were dark red, and she had no gut sounds.  We immediately started working her up for her colic signs.  Initial blood work showed an abnormally low white blood cell count, low protein, and markers consistent with dehydration. A rectal exam was performed which only revealed small fecal balls in her rectum and doughy feeling feed material in her large intestine.  We performed an ultrasound of her abdomen in order to see how her intestines were moving and to rule out an increased amount of free fluid. Impression’s ultrasound exam showed us that she had a lot of fluid in her stomach and that her small intestines were not moving very well.

We passed a stomach tube to remove some of the excess fluid because horses cannot vomit.  X-rays of her abdomen were taken to rule out the possibility of sand or a stone.  Based on her clinical signs, housing situation, and history, samples of manure and blood were collected to test for Salmonella and Potomac Horse Fever.

While awaiting test results, Impression was admitted to the hospital and started on intravenous fluids, anti-inflammatories, and pain medication.  Precautions were taken to help prevent laminitis.  Initially we also left her stomach tube in place to prevent excess accumulation of fluid in her stomach which results from the decreased intestinal motility.   The following day the blood test confirmed that she was positive for Potomac Horse Fever (PHF).  Eventually, she also became positive to a test of her manure.

Potomac horse fever, also known as Equine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis or Shasta River Crud, is caused by an organism called Neorickettsia risttici.  The disease was first described in horses living around the Potomac River.  The organism can be found in various life stages of flukes, a type of worm that is found parasitizing aquatic snails and aquatic insects, including caddis flies and mayflies.  Natural transmission to horses is thought to occur primarily through ingestion of the aquatic insects that are found around water sources including rivers, streams, and/or irrigated pastures.  The same insects may also be attracted to light sources, such as would be found around a barn, and potentially fall into horse feeders.

Clinical signs of the disease include mild colic, fevers, inappetance, edema, diarrhea (in approximately 60% of cases), abortion and laminitis.  Despite resolution of many of the clinical signs, laminitis is often severe and progressive and contributes to the mortality associated with the disease. While PHF is not a considered a common cause of mild colic and diarrhea in this particular area, we have seen 4 cases of the disease in the past few years here at LBEMC.

The treatment for the disease is an antibiotic called oxytetracycline, which needs to be administered intravenously.  Once the diagnosis of PHF was made we started Impression on oxytetracycline and her condition improved daily.  Impression stayed in the hospital for a total of 6 days.  Impression was lucky because she did not develop laminitis.  She is currently back at home with her pasture-buddy and doing very well!

The successful outcome in this case can be attributed to the early recognition of clinical signs, aggressive supportive care, rapid testing, and prompt institution of targeted antimicrobial therapy.  The absence of complications such as the development of laminitis plays a significant roll in long-term outcome of PHF.

Impression at Home

The Little Donkey That Could

By Andi Foster, DVM

Boy George is an adorable 1-year-old miniature donkey who presented to Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center after being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting stepped on by a full-sized adult horse. Boy George was seen in the field on emergency and was splinted (despite his disapproval of the plan) and brought to the clinic for further assessment. At the clinic, x-rays were taken of his right hind leg which confirmed a significant fracture of his cannon bone.

Surgery was considered the way to provide him with the best chance at recovery, and he was taken to surgery for fracture repair. During surgery, Dr. Jason Errico applied a transfixation cast which involved drilling sterile pins through his cannon bone combined with the application of a cast around these pins. X-rays were taken during surgery to ensure that the fracture was aligned properly.

Boy George under anesthesia:

Drilling of the pins:

Realignment of limb:

Application of the cast:

Boy George recovered very well from anesthesia and became accustomed to his new cast quite quickly. He went home to recover from his surgery and a few weeks later returned to have the pins removed in a second procedure. This second step also went smoothly and the fracture was determined to be healing very well. Another cast was applied and Boy George had a few more weeks with his new cast. He became more and more adept at moving around in the cast and maintained a very good attitude about his recuperation and stall rest. His third recheck in December showed that he was continuing to heal well and a final cast was applied which remained in place for several more weeks.

Recheck x-rays with cast on — note the bony callous formation:

Boy George still has some time to go before he is completely back to normal but he continues to do well and we all wish him the best on his road to a full recovery!

A special thanks to all the doctors who worked with Boy George:
Dr. Jason Errico, Dr. Molly Dinucci, Dr. Anne Hitchcock, Dr. Jill Higgins, Dr. Langdon Fielding, and Dr. Andi Foster.

Jacob and the Oleander

(Molly Misakian, DVM)

Jacob

Oleander

Jacob in ICU

Jacob at home

Jacob Biles, a 7-year-old male alpaca, presented to Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center on emergency for inappetance, lethargy, and excessive water consumption. Jacob shares a pasture with another alpaca, a llama, goats, and chickens, but he was the only one acting sick. Normally, Jacob avoids being handled and prefers to be with “the herd.” He lives for feeding time and never skips a meal. On this particular morning, however, Jacob allowed his owner to touch him and was not interested in his breakfast. The owner noticed that he was particularly interested in his water.

When Jacob arrived he was lethargic and depressed. On physical examination, his heart rate was decreased, but the rest of the examination was fairly unremarkable. Jacob’s bloodwork, however, revealed some significant abnormalities. His BUN and creatinine were both very elevated, which indicated that he was in renal failure. He also had an elevated blood glucose level and electrolyte abnormalities. Because Jacob had always been very healthy and because his clinical signs developed so suddenly, the doctors at Loomis Basin Equine were suspicious that Jacob may have ingested a toxin, possibly Oleander. Oleander, even when consumed in very small amounts, can cause kidney failure, cardiac abnormalities, and electrolyte disturbances, similar to those seen with Jacob. Oleander poisoning is life threatening, so it is always important to treat patients immediately and aggressively. Jacob was admitted to the hospital and placed on IV fluids to increase blood flow to his kidneys and to promote diuresis. He was also given IV lidocaine, to treat his heart abnormalities. Jacob’s owners went home to explore the pasture for oleander or any other toxic plants he may have ingested.

Jacob did not do very well in the first 48 hours of his stay at the hospital. Overnight, he developed bloody diarrhea (another clinical sign often seen with Oleander poisoning.) He remained very depressed, would not eat, and his BUN and creatinine increased. Because his glucose level continued to climb, he was started on insulin. At this time Jacob’s prognosis appeared grave with the only positive sign being a normal ECG. We continued to treat Jacob supportively with IV fluids and tried very hard to get him to eat. Jacob’s owners did find Oleander on the property, so a blood sample was submitted to UC Davis for Oleander toxin screening to confirm the diagnosis.

In the days following, Jacob continued to be inappetant and to have bloody diarrhea. We decided to transfaunate him by taking the contents from the rumen of a cow and passing it through a tube into Jacob’s stomach. This procedure was performed to replace “normal” bacteria that had been washed from his GI tract by diarrhea. Although Jacob was not eating and the diarrhea continued, his bloodwork began to show improvements. His BUN and creatinine, although still elevated, had come down.

Over the course of the next week, Jacob made a huge “turnaround.” His kidney values continued to decrease towards normal, he became much brighter, and the diarrhea was resolving. We were able to wean Jacob off his fluids once his kidney values returned to normal. Jacob was released from the hospital and returned home to “the herd”. His kidney values were rechecked a few days after he went home, and they were normal! Jacob is currently doing very well. His owners report that he is “back to his old self again.”

Jacob’s blood test came back positive for Oleander toxin, so his owners have removed all Oleander from the property!

Tyzzer’s Disease

Perpetually Pretty’s 06 colt was very healthy and normal at birth, but, at 10 days of age, his owner, John and Bonnie Ball, found him down and non-responsive in the pasture. Dr. Katzman paid an emergency visit right away, recognized the severity of his illness and quickly referred him to the hospital. Upon arrival, he had a very low heart rate, severe hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar), acidemia (acid build up in his blood), and hypovolemic shock (decreased blood volume). He also had seriously elevated liver enzymes, indicating active destruction/damage to his liver tissues. An ultrasound of his liver showed marked enlargement with an abnormal pattern to his liver indicating swelling/edema of his liver.

All of these findings made Dr. Fielding suspicious for Tyzzer’s disease, a liver infection that affects foals in their first month of life. These foals are often found dead before any signs are noticed with the diagnosis made on autopsy. There are only a few reports of successful treatment for this disease. Based on his suspicions and clinical findings, the colt was started immediately on fluid resuscitation, intravenous glucose, and a continuous infusion of a potent antibiotic. He had severely traumatized his eyes by thrashing on the ground before he became unconscious; medical treatment was instituted for his eyes (topical antibiotics, pain medication, etc.).

The colt became responsive once his blood parameters were corrected. He began to show interest in nursing and interacting with his mother. He was supported with continuous IV treatment for several days until his liver had time to heal and start to function normally.

He was discharged to his owners with antibiotics to continue fighting the liver infection and with long term treatment for the ulcerations on his eyes. Dr. Morgan performed multiple recheck examinations of the colt over the next few months and has now given him a clean bill of health without any detectable long term effects. Due to the close attention paid by his owners, the quick action of all veterinarians involved, and the long-term diligent care given, he is now a happy, healthy, very lucky weanling colt.

Second day in hospital:

Home and healthy: