Post-Colic-Surgery Salmonellosis and Long-Term Prognosis

Horses that developed salmonellosis following colic surgery and survived to discharge did as well as those that did not develop salmonellosis.
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Post-Colic-Surgery Salmonellosis and Long-Term Prognosis
Researchers identified predictors of Salmonella shedding in horses that could help veterinarians implement appropriate biosecurity protocols earlier and limit the risk of disease transmission to other patients. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
It seems there’s an upside and a downside to most horse health issues, including colic surgery. The good news: Clinical research says survival rates can be high with early referral and appropriate surgical treatment. The bad news: Colic surgery and postoperative care can be challenging, especially when complications arise.

One such postoperative complication is salmonellosis, a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella. The bacteria is present in the horse’s day-to-day environment and can even set up shop in his gastrointestinal tract without causing signs of disease. However, veterinarians have observed that horses with colic seem to be particularly predisposed to developing clinical signs associated with certain Salmonella strains.

And there’s more bad news when it comes to salmonellosis: “In-hospital mortality rates can be high, and salmonellosis can be expensive to treat,” said Louise L. Southwood, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC.

But, in a recent study, Southwood and colleagues reported some good news about colic surgery patients that develop salmonellosis: The long-term prognosis is positive. They determined that horses developing salmonellosis following colic surgery that survived to hospital discharge did as well as horses that did not develop salmonellosis

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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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