69 (1) 24-30

Colic in the horse: a retrospective study
M. Steenhaut, A. Martens, L. Vlaminck, F. Gasthuys, P. Desmet, A. De Moor, T. Mariën, P. Deprez

A retrospective study was performed on 2,264 horses presented with colic at the University of Ghent (Belgium) in the period 1986-1994. In this article, parameters not directly related to a specific type of colic are discussed. Approximately 31.8% of all horses admitted to the clinic of Internal Diseases were presented because of colic. The colic pathology was observed mainly during the spring. A significantly great number of mares and warmblood riding horses were presented, and a significantly lower number of stallions and halfblood horses. The prevalence of colic increased with age, stagnating around the age of 13. One thousand one hundred sixty-eight exploratory laparotomies were performed on 1,069 horses. During the period 1986-1994 the number of surgical interventions gradually increased. The short-term survival rate also increased progressively: by the end of the period studied, it had reached 86.8% for conservative treatment and 73.1% for surgical correction. A variable success rate after surgery was observed among the different surgeons. The determining factors for this variable success were the surgeon’s individual experience in abdominal surgery and the period in which the exploratory laparotomies were performed. The success rate after non-invasive or minimally-invasive surgical techniques was significantly better than after the use of invasive techniques. The most commonly observed postoperative complications were thrombophlebitis, diarrhoea, wound infection and laminitis.

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