Multiple Celiotomies in Short Span Yield a Guarded Prognosis

Horses undergoing multiple colic surgeries in a 14-day period are at greater risk for incisional infections.
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Many horses that have successful colic surgery have a good long-term survival rate. But researchers have determined that horses undergoing multiple celiotomies (abdominal surgeries) within a 14-day period are at a greater risk for incisional infection and generally have a guarded prognosis for long-term survival.

Bettina Dunkel, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC, ECEIM, FHEA, MRCVS, and colleagues recently completed the study, in which they found that more than half of the horses developed an infection at the incision site.

“The high infection rate occurs because the surgeon has to go through the same incision twice," said Dunkel, a senior lecturer in equine medicine at the University of London Royal Veterinary College, in the United Kingdom. "The tissue is already compromised and prone to infection.”

And, unfortunately, infection is nearly unavoidable, Dunkel said: “Antimicrobials are usually not effective. Avoiding tissue trauma is the best way to avoid infection, but in second surgeries that’s not possible

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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