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Jenni Varner

Jenni Varner

The University of Georgia
College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2021

Research Interests

Anti-inflammatory properties of firocoxib in equine pregnancy and placentitis

Jennifer S. Varner, Margo L. Macpherson, Londa J. Berghaus, Kelsey A. Hart, Roy D. Berghaus, and Steeve Giguere

Department of Large Animal Medicine, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, GA (Varner, Berghaus, Hart, Berghaus, Giguere), Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville, FL (Macpherson)

Placentitis, a leading cause of pregnancy loss in mares, is often caused by ascending bacterial infection. The ensuing inflammatory response to infection, and prostaglandin production, induces preterm delivery. Survival rates in preterm foals are poor; therefore, treatment strategies for placentitis that control infection and inhibit inflammation are vital for foal survival. The goals of this study were: 1. Determine the anti-inflammatory effects of firocoxib, trimethoprim sulfamethoaxazole [TMS] and altrenogest administered to mares with placentitis; 2. Determine the efficacy of firocoxib, TMS and altrenogest for improving foal outcome in mares with placentitis. We hypothesized that this treatment would significantly decrease pro-inflammatory mediators in fetal fluids and tissues when compared to untreated, infected mares. We further hypothesized that this treatment would improve foal survival. Placentitis was induced in 13 pregnant mares (DGA 270-300; intracervical inoculum of S. zooepidemicus). Mares were randomly assigned to: infected, untreated group (n=6); or infected, treated group (n=7; firocoxib, TMS, and altrenogest administration from clinical signs of placentitis until abortion/delivery). Fetal fluids, placental and fetal tissue samples were obtained at abortion/delivery for assay of TNF-a, IL-1b, and IL-10, IL-6, IL-8, PGE2 and PGF2a using ELISA and real-time PCR (data pending). Gestation length and foal survival were significantly higher in treated mares (mean days post-infection = 40; 7/7 live foals; P < 0.05) than untreated mares (mean days post-infection = 14; 2/6 live foals). Cytokine and prostaglandin data will further characterize treatment impact on inflammation in mares with placentitis.

Research Grant: Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation (grant 057845-01)

Student Support: Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation; UGA College of Veterinary Medicine

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