Fibrin deposits and organ failure in newborn foals with severe septicemia

M. Cotovio, Luis Monreal, L. Armengou, J. Prada, J. M. Almeida, D. Segura

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Septicemia in human neonates frequently is complicated by activation of the coagulation system, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and multiple organ failure syndrome, which may contribute to high mortality. In adult horses with DIC, the lung has been the organ most frequently affected by fibrin deposits. In addition, in vivo studies suggest that hemostatic mechanisms may be immature in foals <1-day old. Hypothesis: Newborn foals with severe septicemia have fibrin deposits in their tissues independently of their age, and these fibrin deposits are associated with organ failure. Animals: Thirty-two septic and 4 nonseptic newborn foals euthanized for poor prognosis. Methods: Tissue samples (kidney, lung, and liver) collected on postmortem examination were stained with phosphotungstic acid hematoxylin (PTAH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for blind histologic examination. A fibrin score (grades 0-4) was established for each tissue sample and for each foal. Medical records were reviewed for assessing clinical evidence of organ failure during hospitalization. Results: Fibrin deposits were found in most septic foals (28/32 when using IHC and 21/32 when using PTAH), independently of the age of the foal. The lung was the most affected tissue (97% of the septic foals). Additionally, organ failure was diagnosed in 18/32 septic foals (8 with respiratory failure, 14 with renal failure), although a statistical association with severe fibrin deposition was not identified. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Nonsurviving septic foals have fibrin deposits in their tissues, a finding consistent with capillary microthrombosis and DIC. Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1410
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • DIC
  • Equine neonates
  • MOFS
  • Microthrombosis
  • Sepsis


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