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Petrographic and geochemic evaluation of equine enteroliths

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  • 1 Comparative Gastroenterology Laboratory, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Letters & Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Geology, College of Letters & Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Comparative Gastroenterology Laboratory, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Letters & Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To characterize the texture, mineralogic features, and chemical features of enteroliths obtained from horses.

Sample Population—Enteroliths from 13 horses with colic.

Procedure—Enteroliths were harvested from 13 horses that underwent ventral midline celiotomy for treatment of colic or necropsy because of colonic obstruction and rupture caused by enteroliths. Dietary and environmental history were determined via questionnaires or evaluation of medical records. In 7 horses that underwent surgical treatment for enterolithiasis, samples of colonic contents were obtained via an enterotomy in the pelvic flexure. Colonic concentrations of magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and potassium (K) were determined. Enteroliths were analyzed via electron microprobe analysis and X-ray diffraction.

Results—Enteroliths varied widely regarding degree of porosity, presence and distribution of radiating texture, and composition and size of the central nidus. A distinct concentric banding was identifiable in all enteroliths. Struvite was the predominant component of all enteroliths, although Mg vivianite was identified in 5 enteroliths, and there were variable quantities of Na, S, K, and Ca in the struvite within enteroliths. Despite an abundance of Ca in colonic fluids, Mgphosphate minerals were preferentially formed, compared with Ca-phosphates (apatite), in equine enteroliths.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Enteroliths comprise 2 major Mg phosphates: struvite and Mg vivianite. There is wide variability in macrotexture and ionic concentrations between and within enteroliths. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:350–358)

Abstract

Objective—To characterize the texture, mineralogic features, and chemical features of enteroliths obtained from horses.

Sample Population—Enteroliths from 13 horses with colic.

Procedure—Enteroliths were harvested from 13 horses that underwent ventral midline celiotomy for treatment of colic or necropsy because of colonic obstruction and rupture caused by enteroliths. Dietary and environmental history were determined via questionnaires or evaluation of medical records. In 7 horses that underwent surgical treatment for enterolithiasis, samples of colonic contents were obtained via an enterotomy in the pelvic flexure. Colonic concentrations of magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and potassium (K) were determined. Enteroliths were analyzed via electron microprobe analysis and X-ray diffraction.

Results—Enteroliths varied widely regarding degree of porosity, presence and distribution of radiating texture, and composition and size of the central nidus. A distinct concentric banding was identifiable in all enteroliths. Struvite was the predominant component of all enteroliths, although Mg vivianite was identified in 5 enteroliths, and there were variable quantities of Na, S, K, and Ca in the struvite within enteroliths. Despite an abundance of Ca in colonic fluids, Mgphosphate minerals were preferentially formed, compared with Ca-phosphates (apatite), in equine enteroliths.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Enteroliths comprise 2 major Mg phosphates: struvite and Mg vivianite. There is wide variability in macrotexture and ionic concentrations between and within enteroliths. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:350–358)