Diagnoses, clinical pathology findings, and treatment outcome of geriatric horses: 345 cases (2006–2010)

Adriana G. Silva Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Leesburg, VA 20177.

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 MV, MS
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Martin O. Furr Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Leesburg, VA 20177.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVIM

Abstract

Objective—To compare clinical, clinical pathology, and outcome variables between geriatric and nongeriatric horses.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—690 horses (345 horses ≥ 20 years old and 345 horses > 1 and < 20 years old) examined at a referral hospital.

Procedures—Medical records were examined, and data collected included horse description, diagnosis, outcome, and CBC and serum biochemical analysis results. Cases were horses ≥ 20 years old, and controls were horses > 1 and < 20 years old.

Results—Mean ± SD age was 23.9 ± 4.6 years for cases and 9.2 ± 3.6 years for controls. Arabian and pony breeds were significantly overrepresented in the geriatric group, compared with the control group. Diagnoses related to the digestive system, musculoskeletal system, and respiratory system were most common in this hospital population overall (cases and controls). Colic was the most common health problem overall. Digestive system disorders were significantly more prevalent among cases. Short-term survival rates for most categories of colic were no different for cases than for controls, with the exception of the category idiopathic colic. Considering all conditions, cases were significantly more likely to be nonsurvivors than were controls. Minor differences in serum biochemical results were found in some disease subcategories. Geriatric horses with colic were not more commonly euthanized than were adult nongeriatric horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that in this population of horses in a referral hospital, age was associated with the prevalence of specific disease conditions. Few differences between cases and controls were found in serum biochemical values.

Abstract

Objective—To compare clinical, clinical pathology, and outcome variables between geriatric and nongeriatric horses.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—690 horses (345 horses ≥ 20 years old and 345 horses > 1 and < 20 years old) examined at a referral hospital.

Procedures—Medical records were examined, and data collected included horse description, diagnosis, outcome, and CBC and serum biochemical analysis results. Cases were horses ≥ 20 years old, and controls were horses > 1 and < 20 years old.

Results—Mean ± SD age was 23.9 ± 4.6 years for cases and 9.2 ± 3.6 years for controls. Arabian and pony breeds were significantly overrepresented in the geriatric group, compared with the control group. Diagnoses related to the digestive system, musculoskeletal system, and respiratory system were most common in this hospital population overall (cases and controls). Colic was the most common health problem overall. Digestive system disorders were significantly more prevalent among cases. Short-term survival rates for most categories of colic were no different for cases than for controls, with the exception of the category idiopathic colic. Considering all conditions, cases were significantly more likely to be nonsurvivors than were controls. Minor differences in serum biochemical results were found in some disease subcategories. Geriatric horses with colic were not more commonly euthanized than were adult nongeriatric horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that in this population of horses in a referral hospital, age was associated with the prevalence of specific disease conditions. Few differences between cases and controls were found in serum biochemical values.

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