Peripheral blood markers of sepsis in foals born from mares with experimentally ascending placentitis

Luciana De Araujo Borba, Carlos Eduardo Wayne Nogueira, Fábio Raphael Pascoti Bruhn, Gabriela Castro Da Silva, Lorena Soares Feijó, Igor F. Canisso, Bruna Da Rosa Curcio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Neonatal sepsis is a leading cause of neonatal death during the first-week postfoaling. Despite recent advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in the newborn foal, the non-specific clinical signs and subtle nature of this disease may result in delayed diagnosis until severe progression of the disease; thus, early detection of sepsis remains critical for a favourable outcome. This study aimed to identify early blood markers as predictive of sepsis on foals. Methods Thirty-five foals were allocated into three groups: healthy control foals (n=7) and foals born from mares with placentitis: septic foals (n=9) and non-septic foals (n=19). Blood samples were obtained immediately after foaling and at 12, 24 and 48 hours. All samples were assessed for glucose, lactate, triglycerides, total cholesterol, urea, creatinine, total solids, fibrinogen, gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), serum amyloid A (SAA) and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) concentrations. Results At foaling, glucose and GGT concentrations were lower in septic foals (P<0.001). Of interest, SAA, AFP, creatinine and total cholesterol were higher in septic foals at parturition (P<0.05). At 12 hours, lactate, triglycerides and total cholesterol concentrations were higher in septic foals. When evaluated at 24 and 48 hours, higher concentrations of SAA and AFP were found in placentitis foals than in the control group. Conclusions Total cholesterol and lactate appear to be suitable markers for sepsis during the first 24 hours postpartum. Septic foals displayed altered energy metabolisms as determined by increased triglycerides and cholesterol concentrations, hypoglycaemia at birth and reduced activity of the GGT and increased lactate and urea concentrations. Sepsis was associated with high concentrations of SAA and AFP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29
Number of pages1
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 11 2020


  • alpha-fetoprotein
  • blood chemistry
  • energy metabolism
  • serum amyloid A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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