70 (5) 389-404

A retrospective study of surgically treated horses suffering from colic due to lesions located in different parts of the intestines
M. Steenhaut, A. Martens, L. Vlaminck, P. Desmet, F. Gasthuys, A. De Moor, T. Mariën, P. Deprez

In the period 1986-1994 a retrospective study was performed on 2,264 horses with colic at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Ghent University/Belgium. An exploratory laparotomy was performed in 1,069 horses. In this study the observed pathological conditions in the different parts of the gastrointestinal tract are thoroughly discussed in depth. The origin of colic symptoms was determined by rectal examination or exploratory laparotomy: it was localized in the ascending colon in 31% of the horses and in the small intestine in 25% of them. Less frequently observed localizations were the caecum (8%), the descending colon (3%), the stomach (3%) and the rectum (1%). The localization of colic pathology could not or not exactly be determined in 28% of the cases. Short time survival rates were used. The overall survival rate of conservative and surgical treatment of horses with pathology of the descending colon and pathology of the caecum and/or ascending colon was respectively 80% and 75%. The survival rate of horses with pathology of the small intestine, the rectum and the stomach was less favorable: 54%, 35% and 32% respectively. The risk of developing colic was statistically analyzed according to breed, gender and age. Foals less than 1 year old ran a significantly higher risk of small intestinal volvulus. Geldings and Warmblood horses had a higher incidence of incarceration through the foramen omentale (epiploicon), whereas females and foals had a lower incidence. An inguinal hernia was significantly more often observed in foals and stallions, and significantly less in mares and geldings. Horses aged 9-12 years showed a higher risk of caecal tympany, whereas ponies, males, foals and horses aged 1-4 years ran an increased risk of (ileo)caecal intussusception. Mares and horses aged 1-4 and 5-8 years had a higher incidence of pelvic flexure impaction. The incidence of right colonic displacement was lower in males and foals. Older horses and mares were at significantly greater risk of developing colonic torsion. A higher incidence of left dorsal displacement was observed in geldings and a lower incidence in females.

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