Listeria monocytogenes septicemia in a Thoroughbred foal

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2000 Mar;12(2):173-6. doi: 10.1177/104063870001200216.


Listeria monocytogenes septicemia was diagnosed in a 6-day-old Thoroughbred foal. Primary clinical signs included fever, depression, diarrhea, and respiratory distress. Hematologic abnormalities included leukopenia, neutropenia, degenerative left shift, and hyperfibrinogenemia. Clinical chemistry and blood gas abnormalities included metabolic acidosis, hypoxemia, hypocapnia, hypoglycemia, and hyponatremia. Despite aggressive therapeutic intervention and intensive care, the foal died within 12 hours of admission. A postmortem examination was performed, and the primary gross lesion was bilaterally severe, focally extensive bronchopneumonia. Histopathology revealed severe subacute multifocal suppurative bronchopneumonia with necrotizing vasculitis and intralesional coccobacilli. Cultures of blood collected at admission and immediately prior to death were positive for L. monocytogenes, as were cultures obtained from lung and liver at necropsy. Immunohistochemical examination of formalin-fixed tissues revealed abundant intra- and extracellular L. monocytogenes antigen within the lung and intravascularly in multiple organs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Horse Diseases / microbiology*
  • Horses
  • Listeria monocytogenes* / isolation & purification
  • Listeriosis / pathology
  • Listeriosis / veterinary*
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Sepsis / veterinary*