New Drug Protocol Holds Promise in Treating Placentitis in Mares

Researchers investigated tackling placentitis on three fronts using a combination of firocoxib, trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole, and altrenogest (a progestin used to suppress estrus).
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New Drug Protocol Holds Promise in Treating Placentitis in Mares
Infection and inflammation of the placenta are well-known causes of foal loss. However, swift recognition of clinical signs and a new drug protocol might change that. | Photo: iStock
When bacteria gain access to a pregnant mare’s reproductive tract causing placentitis, the outcome can be bleak. Infection and inflammation of the placenta are well-known causes of foal loss. However, swift recognition of clinical signs and a new drug protocol might change that.

Researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Georgia Colleges of Veterinary Medicine have identified what they believe will be a more effective way to combat placentitis by tackling it on three fronts using a combination of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory firocoxib, the antibiotic trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole (TMS), and altrenogest (a progestin used to suppress estrus).

Jennifer Varner, a third-year veterinary student at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, presented the team’s findings at the 65th American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, which is currently underway in Denver. She explained that veterinarians have directed traditional placentitis treatment toward arresting bacterial infections using antimicrobials. However, one small study supported the idea that quelling the mare’s inflammatory response while preventing the onset of uterine contractions might be integral to saving foals’ lives. Her team’s study goal was to find a safe and effective combination of drugs to address inflammation, infection, and premature contractions.

In their study they inoculated 13 pregnant mares with Streptococcus zooepidemicus, which they introduced midway into the cervix when the mares were between 270-300 days of gestation. They then randomly assigned each mare to either a treated group or an untreated control group

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Betsy Lynch has been an equine industry professional for 30-plus years as an editor, writer, photographer, and publishing consultant. Her work appears in breed, performance, and scientific journals. Betsy owns her own business, Third Generation Communications. She is a graduate of Colorado State University, continues to keep horses, and lives near Fort Collins, Colorado.

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