Article by UF equine researchers lauded by journal

Dr. Amy Stieler with foal

Dr. Amy Stieler with foal. (Photo by Diana Andersen-Davis)

An article by equine researchers at the University of Florida that examines the relationship between a specific antibiotic used to treat foals and hyperthermia, a potentially fatal side effect, has been selected by reviewers at the Equine Veterinary Journal as one of the most clinically relevant to appear on the journal’s website.

The study, titled “Macrolide-induced Hyperthermia in Foals: Role of Impaired Sweat Responses” was written by members of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s large animal internal medicine group. Dr. Amy Stieler was first author, with Drs. Rob MacKay, Chris Sanchez and Martha Mallicote listed as co-authors, along with fourth-year veterinary student Brittany Martabano and large animal medicine biological scientist Jim Burrow.

The article appeared in the journal’s “Early View” section in October. As a result of its selection, a synopsis of the article will be circulated to equine practitioners via the British Equine Veterinary Association’s electronic newsletter and also sent to other organizations, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, according to Sue Wright of the journal’s editorial office.

“The original project focuses on an antibiotic, specifically erythromycin, a macrolide, that is commonly used in foals that are being treated for pneumonia caused by Rhodococcus equi,” Stieler said, adding that Rhodococcus equi is one of the more common bacterial causes of pneumonia in foals between 2−6 months of age.

“One of the documented side effects of the medication is hyperthermia, or overheating, but the exact reason why this occurs has been unknown. Our research discovered that the reason the foals are likely overheating is because of a decreased ability to sweat after being on the medication,” Stieler said.

“Interestingly, the foals could not sweat normally for several weeks after stopping the medication as well. The next phase of our research will help to determine the mechanism behind why this decreased sweating occurs and look into the effects of other medications on the normal sweat response,” she said, adding that the research was significant because many foals may be treated with this medication and the need for preventative cooling measures, such as shade, trees and fans, should be recognized.

The UF large animal medicine group is one of the leading academic institutions internationally in foal research.

The journal is published by the BEVA in the United Kingdom.

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