Proteins Can Predict Colic Surgery Survival

Haptoglobin in peritoneal fluid and SAA in serum and peritoneal fluid and were associated with nonsurvival.
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Proteins Can Predict Colic Surgery Survival
Acute phase proteins are elevated in horses with severe colic. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Tina Holberg Pihl
Equine veterinarians run tests for reasons ranging from disease detection to prognosis prediction. Results help them make decisions about how to treat horses, while also helping set horse owner expectations for recovery. Scientists in Denmark recently examined whether certain acute phase proteins (APPs), which the liver produces in the wake of infection or inflammation, could help predict whether a colicking horse would survive to hospital discharge after surgery or medical treatment.

Tina Holberg Pihl, DVM, PhD, associate professor of medicine and surgery at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Large Animal Sciences, performed the study in collaboration with practitioners at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa. She presented her results at the 2017 International Equine Colic Research Symposium, held July 18-20, in Lexington, Kentucky.

“We wanted to see if acute phase proteins are adding something to what we are already looking at,” she said. “We don’t need another test (if it’s not useful).”

Pihl explained that APPs are elevated in horses with severe colic, and researchers already know there’s an association between blood APP concentrations and survival. “Larger studies evaluating the prognostic value of APPs are, however, lacking,” she said. “I wanted to see if serum amyloid A and haptoglobin in blood and peritoneal fluid and fibrinogen (in blood) could give a prognosis in these horses

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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