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Hypernatraemia in 39 hospitalised foals: clinical findings, primary diagnosis and outcome

Collins, NM, Carrick, JB, Russell, CM, Axon, JE
Australian veterinary journal 2018 v.96 no.10 pp. 385-389
Thoroughbred, blood serum, case studies, confidence interval, electrolytes, foals, odds ratio, sepsis (infection), sodium
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate hypernatraemia in foals presenting as medical emergencies to an intensive care unit (ICU) to determine the prevalence, clinical findings, primary diagnosis and outcome. METHODS: Retrospective case study of records from Thoroughbred foals aged less than 3 months that presented to an ICU as medical emergencies in 2002–12. Data retrieved included signalment, clinical findings, laboratory results, primary diagnosis and outcome. Foals with hypernatraemia (serum sodium > 145 mmol/L) on admission laboratory data were identified and further evaluated. RESULTS: A total of 39 of 1718 foals (2.3%) were diagnosed with hypernatraemia; all foals were less than 7 days of age. The most common primary diagnoses in the foals with hypernatraemia were neonatal syndrome (19/39, 48.7%) and sepsis (15/39, 38.5%). Foals with hypernatraemia at presentation were more likely to die or be euthanased during their hospitalisation than foals with a normal serum sodium concentration on ICU admission (33.3% vs 16.1%; odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–4.6; P = 0.02). CONCLUSION: Admission hypernatraemia was an uncommon but important electrolyte abnormality in this population of hospitalised foals. Although the short‐term outcome in survivors was most likely dependent on the underlying disease process, hypernatraemia was negatively associated with outcome in hospitalised foals.