Four out of every 100 horses colic each year, making it the most common equine emergency. While most cases do not require surgery, 7-10% of them do involve lesions that are only correctable through surgery.
Despite veterinary advancements and dramatically improved postoperative survival rates, colic is still a leading cause of death among horses. Colic, by definition, is abdominal pain; this is a clinical sign rather than a disease. A horse can be “colicky” for many reasons—large colon torsions, small intestinal strangulations, spasmodic ep...
If your horse tends to colic, it’s probably best to get him out in the field, researchers say. That’s even more important if he has stereotypies like cribbing, windsucking, or weaving.
Foals have seemingly endless energy, darting around their fields, playing with their pasturemates, and recharging with a quick nap and a drink from Mom. But, occasionally, a foal develops a health problem that zaps that energy and leaves him in a collapsed heap, looking sickly and vulnerable. What should you do if this happens to your foal?
It's no secret that leg wraps and bandages applied to horses' lower limbs protect and support the soft tissues within. But what about the abdominal bandages veterinarians wrap around horses' bodies post-colic surgery—do they function in the same way?
If you’ve ever had to deal with equine gastric ulcers, you—and your wallet—will likely be happy that researchers have learned that a much lower dose of one omeprazole formulation could be just as effective in treating the condition as the standard dose.
Summer heat can be dangerous for horses, resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress can cause diarrhea, or even colic. But owners can take important steps to keep horses safe and comfortable during the hot days ahead.
If only horses could speak up and let us know when something hurts, right? Guess what: They can.
Does your performance horse need to pack on a few more pounds? Here are some tips to consider when managing a hard-keeping equine athlete.
Horse owners sometimes find it necessary to change their horse’s feeding program--fluctuations in temperature, season, and performance level are just some of the reasons. But with the known link between diet changes and health conditions such as colic or laminitis, how can owners safely transition their horse’s feed without negatively affectin...
If your horse is exhibiting signs of colic, weight loss, or diarrhea, your veterinarian might reach for an ultrasound probe to get a glimpse of what is going on inside the animal's abdomen. Some serious conditions, however, aren't easily visible on ultrasound.
In recent studies, researchers have confirmed the benefits of using cryotherapy (cold therapy, or digital hypothermia) to treat acute laminitis. The technique's anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects help prevent the laminar failure (when the laminae anchoring the coffin bone within the hoof fail to support the bone) characteristic of this devastatin...
When a person or small animal’s kidneys are injured, stressed, or fail, renal replacement therapy can create a life-saving bridge until kidney function recovers (or, in some human cases, a donor organ is secured). In horses similar treatment generally isn’t an option, and renal failure is devastating.
Researchers around the world are always working to better understand a bevy of horse health problems. And while moving forward is the ultimate goal, sometimes it pays to look back at what previous research has revealed.
When an owner sends a horse under the knife for colic surgery, he or she is first and foremost hoping the horse survives the operation. But just because he makes it through the procedure doesn't mean he's out of the woods: Many horses develop a dangerous complication called postoperative ileus—a lack of gut motility after surgery.
Owners who’ve had horses with gastric ulcers know firsthand how frustrating—and expensive—it is to manage animals with this often chronic condition. And with an estimated 75% of horses suffering from gastric ulcers, it’s no surprise that treatment and prevention of the condition—which is common enough to have its own acronym,...
In the ongoing hunt to explain the relationship between cribbing and colic, researchers have discovered that cribbing causes increased intra-abdominal pressure.
The bacterium Lawsonia intracellularis causes an economically important emerging disease of weanlings called equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE). Thoroughbred foals that recover from EPE reportedly sell for an average of 68% less than nonaffected foals by the same sire, so veterinarians consider detecting the disease agent early a priority. In a recent...
Yearly variability in exposure to a severe disease-causing bacterium of young horses appears to be different than previously thought. Despite the common belief that the incidence of equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE), a severe gastrointestinal disease of foals and long yearlings, spikes higher in some years than in others, researchers have recently fo...
The sooner a veterinarian is able to determine whether a colicking horse requires surgery, the better the horse's chances of survival. Colic originating in the small intestine can be particularly tricky since it is not always easily felt on rectal palpation. Ultrasound examination, commonly used in general equine practices for diagnosing pregnancies a...
Colic remains a preeminent focus among equine researchers, and a North Carolina State University research team is breaking it down to the nitty gritty by examining how infectious disease and inflammation impact cells in the horse's gut. Specifically, they are focusing on the "tight junctions," or the spaces between microvilli--microscopic ce...
According to several reports, veterinarians have identified equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) in up to 40% of Quarter Horses and 93% of Thoroughbred racehorses. EGUS can lead to poor body condition, disruptions in training, impaired performance, colic, and other complications, some of them quite severe. While many veterinarians and owners use FDA-appro...
The fall is a time of lovely colors, family get-togethers, and winding down the busy show season. However, fall is often a time of increased colic calls to veterinarians. While not all colic episodes can be prevented, paying attention to equine management can go a long way to decrease the incidence and the suffering of episodes.
Equine practitioners are undeniably busy individuals, making farm calls, caring for patients, and evaluating test results on a daily basis. To help veterinarians keep up to date on the most recent and relevant research, three veterinarians review the top studies in the fields of surgery, medicine, and reproduction at the annual American Association of Equ...
Editor's Note: This article is part of TheHorse.com's ongoing coverage of topics presented at the 9th International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases, held Oct. 21-26 in Lexington, Ky.
Veterinarians have known for many years that analog radiography is an efficient means of diagnosing enteroliths in adult horses, but computed, or digital, radiography has since replaced many analog machines. Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) recently put the newer technology to the test and found it outperformed its predecessor...
When a horse is in the midst of a bout of colic, many owners wonder if their animal will need surgery to fix the problem. For those owners who have never experienced a referral to an emergency medical clinic for surgery or intensive care, understanding their veterinarian's decision on how and where to treat the colic can be confusing.
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