Kidney Function Imperative To Equine Health

Kidneys are of vital importance to the overall health of any animal. These organs provide important functions, including balancing electrolytes, maintaining blood pressure, removing waste, producing calcium and more. To accomplish all these tasks, kidneys require significant blood flow—nearly 25 percent of cardiac output. Because of this, any changes in blood flow can have significant impact on kidney health.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UKVDL) looked at necropsy results of horses that were sent to their facility over an eight-year period. Adults horses, fetuses and foals of diverse breeds were included in the study; each case was reviewed to see if the diagnoses were related to renal pathology.

The scientists discovered that 3.6 percent of the horses submitted for necropsies had some format of renal pathology. Renal lesions were determined to be the primary issue in 38 percent of cases and secondary to another issue in 55 percent of cases. Seven percent of cases had renal pathology as an incidental.

Primary lesions were associated with inflammatory or infection issues; congenital issues; nephroliths, neoplastic renal carcinoma, toxicity and trauma. The most-common infection was leptospirosis, which is often localized in the kidney and can cause abortion in pregnant mares.

Actinobacillus equuliwas was also a commonly found bacteria; infection can be caused through inhalation, ingestion or through a contaminated umbilical cord. Urinary tract infections that extend up to the kidneys were also common; these were shown to be from multiple types of bacteria.

Kidney stones were found in 10 horses; most horses show no outward signs of kidney stones until they obstruct their ability to urinate. Three of the four cases dubbed as toxic were suspected to have had NSAIDs (such as Bute or Banamine) administered for long periods of time.

Read more at EquiMed.

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