Clinical and biochemical factors associated with survival in equids attacked by dogs: 28 cases (2008-2016)

C. Langdon Fielding, Jennifer R. Mayer, Julie E. Dechant, Kira L. Epstein, K G Magdesian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Trauma from dog attacks has been associated with mortality rates as high as 23% in some species. However, the prognosis and clinical features of this type of injury have not been described in equids. Hypotheses/Objectives: To describe survival rate, signalment, clinical features, and biochemical results in equids presented for emergency care after presumed dog attacks. We hypothesized there would be differences between survivors and nonsurvivors. Animals: A total of 28 equids presented for presumed dog attacks from 3 referral centers. Methods: A retrospective study was performed using data from 3 hospitals between 2008 and 2016. Survival was defined as survival at 14 days postdischarge. Variables were compared between survivors and nonsurvivors using a t test, Mann-Whitney U test, or Fisher's exact test as appropriate. Results: Overall mortality rate was 21%. Ponies and miniature horses represented 16/28 (57%) of the animals in the study. Full-sized equids had a lower risk of nonsurvival as compared to smaller patients (odds ratio = 0.02; 95% confidence intervals = 0.00-0.27; P <.005). Animals with lower body temperatures had increased risk for nonsurvival (P =.0004). Increased admission blood lactate concentrations (P =.003) and decreased serum total protein concentrations (P =.006) were associated with nonsurvival. Conclusions: The mortality rate in equids attacked by dogs was similar to what is reported for other veterinary species. Smaller equids and those with increased admission blood lactate concentration, lower body temperature, and lower total serum protein concentrations were less likely to survive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • creatine kinase
  • hyperlactatemia
  • hypoproteinemia
  • hypothermia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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