Predicting Colic: Horse Breeds at Higher Risk

From reviewing statistical data from large populations of patients, researchers have noticed that certain breeds of horses are predisposed to certain types of colic.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

From reviewing statistical data from large populations of patients, researchers have noticed that certain breeds of horses are predisposed to certain types of colic.

For example, Elysia Schaefer, DVM, an equine surgery resident at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana said strangulating lipomas are common in older Arabians and Quarter Horses. A lipoma is a benign mass of fatty tissue that forms into a circular ball. It is unknown exactly why it starts to grow, or why Arabians and Quarter Horses are predisposed, but it has the ability to cut off blood flow to the intestinal tract.

As the ball of fatty tissue begins to grow, it drops further and further into the abdomen as a result of gravity. The stalk, or piece of tissue that is still attaching the lipoma to the mesentery (a membrane that suspends the intestines in place) can become wrapped around the intestine, causing a painful problem for the horse and an emergency for an equine surgeon. Fortunately, not all lipomas will need surgery. Some might hang out in the horse's abdomen for a lifetime without ever causing signs of colic. However, it should be noted that in a few cases suspected lipomas are identified as malignant versions called liposarcomas that can metastasize to other parts of the body.

Miniature Horses come just a bit smaller, but not necessarily with smaller problems. "Miniature horses are prone to fecolith impaction," said Schaefer. In contrast to the lipoma, which causes pain and loss of blood supply by strangulating the bowel, fecoliths, a hardened fecal ball, can impede the normal flow of food through the intestines. It too causes colic, although in most cases it is not an emergency. Miniatures with this problem typically present with slow, progressive, intermittent abdominal pain

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you vaccinate your horse?
372 votes · 372 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!