Equine Colic Types

Impactions – stomach and small intestine

Impaction pathophysiology

Common sites of impaction include the pelvic flexure, the ileum, the cecum, the small colon and the stomach. Ascarid impactions are typically in the jejunum.

Gastric impactions

Gastric impactions in horses, a review. The Horse, 2011

She added that the condition is caused by a variety of factors including the consumption of certain feeds that swell after ingestion, dental problems that diminish the horse’s ability to chew feed properly, inadequate water supply, excessively rapid eating, and pathophysiological disturbances (changes in the horse’s normal mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions).

 

Ascarid impactions

Ascarid impactions can occur after deworming when the dead and dying worms create an obstruction.

Signalment
  • 4-24mo old
Clinical signs
  • Unthrifty
  • Mild-moderate colic
  • Reflux
Diagnosis
  • Worms in reflux
  • Ultrasound- worms may be visible
  • Signs of intestinal blockage
Complications
  • Peritonitis
  • Adhesions
  • Intestinal rupture
Treatment
  • Surgery with enterotomy
Risk factors
  • Deworming with an effective agent in an infected foal (large die off)
Prognosis
  • Poor
Prevention
  • Deworm with less effective product first (strongid, 1/2 dose fenbendazole
  • Treat with mineral oil at time of deworming

 

Ileal impactions and ileal hypertrophy

Ileal impactions occur most often with Bermuda grass hay and parasite issues.

Signalment
  • Arabs, mares for ileal impactions
  • >5 yo for ileal hypertrophy
Clinical signs Ileal impaction

  • worsening colic
  • reflux

Ileal hypertrophy

  • recurrent colic
  • partial anorexia
  • weight loss
Diagnosis
  • Rectal: SI distension, early on – doughy tubular mass
  • Transrectal ultrasound: SI distension
  • Differentials: strangulating lesions, PDJ
Complications
  • Gastric rupture
  • Hypovolemic shock
Treatment
  • Iv fluids wtih analgesics
  • Intraoperative massage, lubrication
Risk factors
  • SE USA
  • feeding low quality Bermuda grass hay
  • Sept-Nov
  • tapeworms
Prognosis
  • Good. Reimpaction is rare
Prevention
  • Avoid Bermuda grass hay
  • Deworm for tapeworms

Resources

License

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Large Animal Surgery - Supplemental Notes by Erin Malone, DVM, PhD; Elaine Norton, DVM PhD; Erica Dobbs, DVM; and Ashley Ezzo, DVM is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.