How Old is Too Old for Colic Surgery?
Veterinarians at the New Bolton Center have made some surprising discoveries concerning older horses and colic surgery. Survival rates for older horses undergoing surgery did not differ significantly from younger horses in a recent study.
Just like their human counterparts, horses are living longer. With the increase in longevity comes an increase in the opportunity for colic. Veterinarians at the New Bolton Center at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine studied the responses of mature and aged patients presented at the hospital with symptoms of colic and treated surgically for the condition. The goal of the research study was to give owners more accurate information on the likelihood of survival and complications that they might encounter with older horses following colic surgery.
For the purposes of the project, survival rates and post-operative complications of colic patients were studied retrospectively. The sample included 300 geriatric horses, defined as 16-20 years of age, and 300 mature horses, 4-15 years old, admitted to New Bolton Center's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals in Kennett Square, Pa.
"Gastrointestinal tract problems and signs of colic are among the most common reasons for admission of geriatric horses to referral hospitals," said Louise Southwood PhD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at New Bolton Center. Southwood, who is board certified in surgery as well as emergency and critical care, led the
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