Equine proliferative enteropathy in weanling foals on a German breeding farm : clinical course, treatment and long-term outcome
The goal of the current report was to describe the clinical signs, therapy and outcome of foals with suspected equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE) due to an infection with Lawsonia intracellularis. Forty foals, born on the same breeding farm, were diagnosed with suspected clinical EPE between September 2019 and January 2020. Data of these cases were analyzed retrospectively regarding the course of the disease, treatment, outcome and long-term prognosis. All horses, including randomly selected control horses, were reassessed about nine months after the suspicion of EPE. The horses affected were between 5 and 10 months of age. Fever was the most common clinical sign. Hypoproteinemia was shown consistently in all cases. Seroconversion was detected in all horses affected, while fecal shedding of Lawsonia intracellularis via qualitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was only found in 21 cases. Treatment was based on tetracyclines and the administration of equine plasma IV. A total of 39 of 40 foals survived EPE. No long-term effects in terms of poor body condition or abnormal blood values were observed. If diagnosed and treated early, EPE can generally be described as a disease with a good prognosis and no long-term effects in Warmblood horses.