Foals With Interstitial Pneumonia May Have New Parvovirus

Foals in California have occasionally become seriously ill due to a form of pneumonia with an unknown cause, often in the spring and summer. Research from Dr. Eda Altan and colleagues at the University of California has found that a new parvovirus may be to blame.

The scientists looked at six foals who had succumbed to interstitial pneumonia, which affects the tissue surrounding the air sacs in lungs. Also called foal acute respiratory distress syndrome or severe bronchointerstitial pneumonia of foals, the condition often affects just one foal at a location.

Though the disease can look like other respiratory viral infections, no association to any other virus has been found.

The research team sequenced spleen, lung, and colon content samples from each of the foals after their deaths. They found equine copiparvovirus (genus of viruses in subfamily Parvovirinae of the virus family Parvoviridae) as well three previously uncharacterized viruses in the samples.

The study team went on to classify the unknown viruses as members of new ungulate protoparvovirus and bocaparvovirus species in the Parvoviridae family.

These discoveries don’t prove that these viruses play a role in interstitial pneumonia, the scientists said. Additional studies are required to prove a disease-causing link.

Read the study here.

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