What to Expect After Colic Surgery

Equally as important as knowing if you’d send a horse to surgery is understanding what to prepare for once he’s home.
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The evaluation will describe the HMA’s history, condition of riparian areas based on functional assessments, and vegetative trends based on rangeland health assessments. | Photo: iStock

Colic surgeries are common procedures in equine veterinary medicine, but do you know what to expect after your horse recovers from anesthesia? Equally as important as knowing whether you should send a horse to surgery is understanding what to prepare for once he’s back in his own stall.

Louise Southwood, BVSc, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, reviewed what to expect following colic surgery at the 2015 World Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Oct. 8-10 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Southwood is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square.

After a horse makes it through surgery, the recovery process begins. Southwood said she generally administers antimicrobials for 24 hours after surgery and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for three to five days to help prevent infections and keep the horse comfortable, respectively

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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