Clinical Outcomes of Large Intestine Thickening (AAEP 2011)

Researchers find large intestinal thickening could indicate multiple diseases in addition to colic.
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Oftentimes one ailment in a horse can be indicative of another ailment waiting to be discovered. For example, large intestinal thickening (greater than or equal to 9 mm), is a known accurate indicator of colon torsion (twist) in surgical colic cases. But according to a team of University of California, Davis (UC Davis), researchers, a colonic torsion isn’t the only ailment that a thickened large intestine could point to.

At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Beth Biscoe, DVM, described how severe large intestinal thickening appears on ultrasound. Biscoe, a former large animal ultrasound fellow at the UC Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), also characterized clinical outcomes of these cases.

Biscoe and her colleagues reviewed all the records of horses presented for abdominal ultrasound at the VMTH from 2003 to 2010. Twenty-five horses with large intestinal thickening greater than or equal to 9 mm were included in the study; these ranged in age from 3 to 28 years

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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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