Phlegmonous gastritis in 2 yearling horses

Julie B. Engiles, Francisco A. Uzal, Mauricio A. Navarro, Virginia B. Reef, Susan J. Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phlegmonous gastritis was diagnosed in 2 yearling fillies that were presented with a 1-wk history of fever, lethargy, and hypoproteinemia, associated with a previous diagnosis of equine proliferative enteropathy based on clinical signs and PCR assay detection of Lawsonia intracellularis in fecal samples. Abdominal ultrasound revealed enlargement of the stomach and expansion of its submucosal layer with hypoechoic fluid, as well as thickened hypomotile small intestinal segments. Given the poor prognosis and poor response to treatment, both horses were euthanized, one on the day of presentation and the other after 3 wk of intensive medical management including a combination of antimicrobials, analgesics, and intravenous colloids. At autopsy, acute mural gastritis characterized by severe submucosal edema with suppurative inflammation (i.e., phlegmonous gastritis) and necroulcerative enteritis compatible with the necrotizing form of equine proliferative enteropathy were identified in both horses. The gastric inflammation was associated with thrombosis and mixed bacterial populations, including Clostridium perfringens, that were confined to the submucosa without evidence of mucosal involvement; toxin genes compatible with C. perfringens type C were identified in one case. Human phlegmonous gastritis is an uncommon, often-fatal pyogenic infection that is often associated with mucosal injury, bacteremia, or immunocompromise. Our finding of this unusual gastric lesion in 2 horses with similar signalment, clinical disease, and spectrum of postmortem lesions suggests a similar etiopathogenesis that possibly involves local, regional, or distant hematogenous origin, and should be considered a potential complication of gastrointestinal mucosal compromise in horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Clostridium perfringens
  • enteritis
  • gastritis
  • horses
  • Lawsonia intracellularis
  • phlegmonous
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Phlegmonous gastritis in 2 yearling horses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this