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Who has had experience with Rhodococcus?

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  • Who has had experience with Rhodococcus?

    My 6 month old filly has been coughing off and on for a few months now...ever since I brought her and her mommy back from a not-so-great breeding farm (long story).

    At first I thought it was just the dusty wind...after all, Oklahoma is known for it's wind and it had been dry and dusty and even I was coughing.
    Recently I noticed it more and more frequently...when she ate, when she was forced to move quickly (games of chase, etc), and then the other day, nasel discharge.

    The vet came out yesterday to do a coggin's and health certificate on another mom/baby and I asked him to take a listen....I could actually hear her wheezing when I put my ear to her rib cage, so I figured a course of antibiotics, a stern lecture on not waiting next time and we'd be good.

    He thinks she may have Rhodococcus, which he said could be serious.
    The good news is, she still has a good appitite so we are starting her on antibiotics (Tucoprim), but he said if she doesn't improve in 5-7 days I need to haul her in for a more serious work up and x-rays. He's hoping its just an upper respitory and the Tucoprim will work it's magic, but he's not optomistic.

    Anyone have experience with Rhodococcus? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being pretty serious and she could die) how worried should I be?
    I'm already beating myself up for not calling sooner, but I'm usually a worry wort and call him out for non-serious things (like what I thought were infectious cysts and turned out to be an allergic reation to ant bites) so I was trying to be conservative.
    Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey

  • #2
    I started a thread about a Rhodococcus colt in the Sport Horse Breeding forum. Go have a peek. Also, search that forum for other rhodococcus thread. Then pour yourself a big glass of wine.


    • Original Poster


      Thanks, just did some reading and am headed to the fridge. Must have chocolate...too early to drink (although that will come when the kids go to bed).

      She is quite possibly the calmest sweetest foal I've ever seen....why did this happen to her?
      DH is barely tolerable of my horse hobby and although he likes her, he isn't going to want to spend the money to save her.

      I'm sure my vet will work out a payment plan for me, he's very kind like that, but I know this will result in another "discussion" on my priorities in life.

      Thanks for the direction. Very informative and slightly frightening. But at least I have some "in the trenches" experience to base decisions off of now.
      Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


      • #4
        Would it be possible to get him to pull blood to check white blood cell count and fibrinogen level and ultrasound her lungs for lesions? That would tell you a lot.

        Does she have a fever?

        It might not be rhodococcus (fingers crossed), it might be strep or staph.

        My guy has been doing well, if that's any consolation. Vet was out Wedneday, pulled blood and listened to his lungs, everything sounded good. By day five of antibiotics his temp was down and is staying down. I still take it 2xday and he gets ulcerguard in the a.m., probiotics in the p.m. and the antibiotics before bed. If the bloodwork is good (should get a result today) we might go to a every other day dosage for the antibiotics.

        Dry and dusty are exactly the right conditions for rhodococcus as it lives in the soil and horses inhale it. Apparently some are more susceptible than others and the reasons why are not clear.

        I have not read about Tucoprim being used for rhodo, mine used azithromycin and rifampin; others on my thread mentioned cloremphenicol or vancomycin.

        I hope your filly will be okay.


        • #5
          R. equi is very rare in a foal that age (6 months). It usually affects younger foals (1-3 months old). Tucoprim is usually not effective against R. equi. The suggestion for wbc, fibrinogen, and chest US is a good one as would be a tracheal wash for a culture and sensitivity.


          • #6
            i work for an equine vet here in florida, very common for foals to get r- equi down here, we have a strain that is really bad in this area. i personally think you should be very worried. and i agree 6 months is a little old for this, but it can happen. i was going to write what lerkes just wrote, so i say it again, pull blood, cbc and a chem, run man, diff if the fibro/ white count is high,get this foals chest ultra sounded asap. you will be able to see the abcesses in the lungs by doing this.and if the blood work if off and the chest u/s is bad you need to do a trach wash with a culture and sensitivity. i hope it is not r- equi cause it is a long and expensive road.

            ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"


            • #7
              In my experience, a sonogram of the lungs spells it out once and for all.. IF you have it, start the meds.............IF you caught it early enoygh and hit the meds appropriartely, you can beat it.
              I've had a foal with it, treated him, and he's now 9 and fine~~you just need to know what it is , and treat it appropriately............
              Good luck!!
              www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!!/pages/Fl...04678589573428


              • #8
                I had a filly with it this spring - my first one in years of breeding. We treated very aggressively with antibiotics, ran bloodwork frequently to keep up on progress and vet checked her frequently also. She took about 3 weeks to be really clear in the lungs but she is fine now with no problems. I was lucky we caught it really early and the vet was very aggressive in treating her.