Pasteurella multocida isolation in a horse with retropharyngeal infection

Hélène Amory, Daniel Jean, R. Leveille, Robert Higgins, André Vrins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retropharyngeal infections in horses normally induce local painful swelling of the retropharyngeal area, which may lead to dyspnea, dysphagia, and systemic manifestations. Differential diagnosis of local painful swelling of the retropharyngeal area includes retropharyngeal lymph node infection, neoplasm, cellulitis, hematoma, guttural pouch empyema, parotiditis, and jugular thrombosis. Apart from Streptococcus equi ssp. equi, other bacteria are rarely reported as a cause of retropharyngeal abscesses. The reason for this might be a lack of specific sampling to identify the causative agent. This work deals with a case of retropharyngeal infection in an 11-year-old Standardbred stallion with acute depression, fever, tachycardia, asymmetric painful swelling in the throat area, ptyalism, and respiratory distress. Endoscopy, radiography, ultrasonography, blood analysis, and cytological examination of a puncture sample taken from the throat mass were consistent with a pyogenic to pyogranulomatous retropharyngeal inflammation. The clinical evolution was initially satisfactory in response to treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, but clinical signs relapsed twice, each time a few weeks after cessation of antibiotic therapy. The bacteriologic finding in this case was unusual and consisted of the isolation of a Pasteurella multocida strain that was obtained after the second relapse (ie, 79 days after initial admission), using a brain heart infusion (BHI) medium, and after two successive negative bacteriological cultures performed on day one of clinical signs and at the first relapse of clinical signs, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-369
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • abcess
  • horse
  • lymph nodes
  • Pasteurella multocida
  • Retropharyngeal infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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