Experimental infection of piglets by aerosols of Rhodococcus equi.

M. C. Zink, J. A. Yager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate experimental infection of the piglet as a model of Rhodococcus equi pneumonia in the foal. Three litters of eight piglets each were exposed to an aerosol of 3.4 X 10(7) R. equi per piglet per day for seven consecutive days. Over the next 23 days the piglets were observed for clinical signs of disease. Periodically after infection one piglet from each litter was killed, the lungs were cultured quantitatively for R. equi and the gross and microscopic pulmonary lesions were assessed. The only clinical evidence of disease was the occurrence of elevated temperatures in the infected piglets. Rhodococcus equi was slowly cleared from the piglets' lungs during the 23 days following aerosolization. Piglets sacrificed seven to ten days after aerosolization had the most extensive pulmonary lesions, consisting of severe consolidation of the cranioventral lobes. Microscopic examination revealed thickened interalveolar septa and alveoli containing many neutrophils and macrophages with intracytoplasmic Gram-positive coccobacilli. The pulmonary lesions in these piglets differed from those of naturally infected foals in that they were not characterized by macrophage-rich abscesses and the infection gradually resolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian journal of veterinary research = Revue canadienne de recherche vétérinaire
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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