Factors Associated With Septic Pleuropneumonia Survival

A thoracotomy improved affected horses’ survival rates while dehydration increased the odds of death.
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Factors Associated With Septic Pleuropneumonia Survival
A thoracotomy improved affected horses’ survival rates while dehydration increased the odds of death. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Septic pleuropneumonia—pneumonia complicated by pleurisy (inflammation of the thin, transparent membrane covering the lungs and lining the chest cavity) and sepsis (bacteria in the bloodstream), is a common cause or mortality in horses, but there is limited data available about factors associated with survival.

In a recent study evaluating factors associated with septic pneumonia survival, Sandra Taylor, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, an assistant professor at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, in West Lafayette, Indiana, and colleagues found that performing a thoracotomy improved the survival rates of horses with septic pleuropneumonia.

A thoracotomy involves a veterinarian opening the chest wall by making incisions between two ribs to remove thick fluid (such as pus), fibrin (a protein involved in blood clotting), and/or necrotic (dead) lung tissue that cannot drain from a large chest tube.

“We tend to think of thoracotomy as an aggressive treatment reserved for the sickest of horses and therefore, horses with a worse prognosis,” said Taylor. “Perhaps we should consider thoracotomy as more of a standard treatment

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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