The University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory offers real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR, a type of DNA analysis) assay testing for Rhodococcus equi. The test can detect the VaPA virulence gene (plasmid) in R. equi bacterial isolates by PCR.

R. equi is a common cause of bacterial pneumonia in foals from birth up to 4 to 6 months old.

The UKVDL test offered to help diagnose R. equi in foals includes:

  1. Foal necropsy (includes all ancillary testing, everything listed below), $80
  2. Cytology, transtracheal aspirate (TTA)/bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), $65
  3. Bacteriological culture, TTA/BAL, other respiratory specimen, $17 per specimen
  4. Antibiotic susceptibility testing, isolate, $10 per isolate
  5. Real-time PCR, TTA/BAL other respiratory specimen*, $27 per specimen.

    *This includes the detection of R. equi and presence of the VapA virulence gene (plasmid).

A one-time $10 accession fee will be accessed per case.

These services are associated with the lab’s Cytology and Necropsy testing.

A cytology test at most labs involves a smear prep and a simple cell count by a lab technician. UKVDL’s full cytology includes slide preparation and any necessary special staining by the lab’s clinical pathology section and a full report by a pathologist board-certified or board-eligible by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. These reports can be up to two pages long and include a summary diagnosis and recommendations for further investigation (e.g., take a biopsy, other studies).

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