Small Colon Impactions
Disorders of the small colon make up a small percentage of the etiologies in acute abdominal crises in horses. Obstruction by fecal material, enteroliths, and meconium are the most commonly reported pathogenic conditions of the small colon in th
Disorders of the small colon make up a small percentage of the etiologies in acute abdominal crises in horses. Obstruction by fecal material, enteroliths, and meconium are the most commonly reported pathogenic conditions of the small colon in the horse. Treatment for small colon impactions consists of aggressive fluid therapy, gastrointestinal lubricants, laxatives, cathartics, standing enemas, anti-inflammatories, and analgesics. If surgery is required, it consists of the reduction of impacted small colons by emptying the small colon via enterotomy, or by a combination of lubricants and massage. The purpose of a study by William S. Rhoads, DVM; Michelle H. Barton, DVM, PhD; and Andrew H. Parks, VetMB, MS, was to characterize the treatment and outcome of horses treated medically and surgically for small colon impactions.
The study of 84 horses took place over a 10-year period, during which time 56 horses (67%) were admitted to a hospital between the months of October and February. Clinical signs of the horses admitted included 82% showing signs of colic (pawing, looking at flanks, laying down, rolling), 31% diarrhea, 30% anorexia, 12% straining to defecate, and 11% showing signs of depression.
Of the 84 horses, 37 were treated surgically and 47 were treated medically. No significant differences were identified for duration of clinical signs, physical parameters, and clinical pathology values between the two groups. However, a significant difference was identified for duration of hospitalization between the two groups. The average stay in the hospital for horses treated medically was 7.23 days, while those treated surgically stayed 10.7 days.
The most common complications occurring during hospitalization included diarrhea, jugular thrombophlebitis or swelling at the catheter site, recurrent colic, fever, and laminitis.
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