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Discussion on Research Study: Campylobacter associated chronic diarrhea

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: dro

Post Number: 22888
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 - 8:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This case found a association between the presence of Campylobacter and diarrhea that then responded following the use of an appropriate antibiotic. The take home message here is that diarrhea often requires repeated attempts to find the pathogen and that a spectrum of culture techniques: aerobic, anerobic, and microaerobic are needed sometimes.

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2009 Mar;21(2):266-9.
Isolation of Campylobacter fetus subspecies fetus in a two-year-old Quarterhorse with chronic diarrhea of an undetermined etiology.

Hurcombe SD, Fox JG, Kohn CW.

Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

A 2-year-old Quarterhorse was evaluated for chronic diarrhea and weight loss of 5 weeks duration after numerous diagnostic tests failed to identify an underlying cause. Historically, the horse was housed at pasture where human household waste vehicles were routinely cleaned and the effluent could run onto the field. Physical examination revealed poor body condition and frequent high-volume diarrhea. Diagnostic testing for Salmonella spp., endoparasites, Cryptosporidium spp., Clostridium spp., and diffuse infiltrative bowel disease were negative. Rectal tissue histopathology failed to identify Mycobacterium spp., spirochetal organisms, or submucosal infiltration with cells. Rectal tissue biopsy and a fresh fecal sample identified numerous Campylobacter organisms with microaerobic culture. Molecular testing revealed the species as Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus as a possible organism associated with large bowel disease in this filly. The organism was sensitive to fluoroquinolone antimicrobials in vitro. The filly responded transiently to therapy, forming discrete fecal balls after 72 hr of treatment. At 5 months follow-up, the horse had gained weight, was alert and responsive, but reverted back to having soft "cow-pie" feces. Reculture of the feces at 9 months failed to identify any Campylobacter organisms. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report to identify C. fetus subsp. fetus from feces and tissue of a horse with the use of molecular methods. This organism could play a role in the etiology of chronic diarrhea in horses.
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