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Indications, complications, and outcome of horses undergoing repeated celiotomy within 14 days after the first colic surgery: 95 cases (2005–2013)

Bettina Dunkel DVM, PhD1, Tim Mair BVSc, PhD2, Celia M. Marr BVMS, MVM, PhD3, Jordan Carnwath DVM4, and David M. Bolt Dr med vet, MS5
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, England.
  • | 2 Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic, Butchers Ln, Mereworth, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 5GS, England.
  • | 3 Rossdales Equine Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, Cotton End Rd, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7NN, England.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, England.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, England.

Abstract

Objective—To examine factors associated with short- and long-term prognosis for horses undergoing repeated celiotomy within 14 days after the first colic surgery.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—95 horses that had undergone 2 celiotomies within a 14-day period between 2005 and 2013 at 3 equine referral hospitals.

Procedures—Historical, clinical, and laboratory data were compared between horses that did not survive and horses that did survive to hospital discharge (short-term survival rate) and to > 3 and > 6 months after hospital discharge (long-term survival rates).

Results—Strangulating small intestinal lesions were the most common finding during the first celiotomy (60/95 [63.2%]), and persistent gastric reflux was the most common reason for the second celiotomy (56/95 [58.9%]). Reasons for a second celiotomy were not associated with survival rate. For horses that had long-term follow-up, 22 of 92 (23.9%) survived > 6 months after hospital discharge. Two of 13 horses with intestinal resections during both surgeries survived to > 6 months after hospital discharge. Compared with horses not undergoing intestinal resection, significantly fewer horses requiring resection during 1 or both surgeries survived to hospital discharge and to > 3 and > 6 months after hospital discharge. Incisional infections occurred in 68.4% (26/38) of horses that survived to hospital discharge, and 31.6% (12/38) developed incisional hernias or dehiscence.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the prognosis for horses undergoing repeated celiotomy is guarded, and intestinal resection negatively affects the long-term survival rate.

Abstract

Objective—To examine factors associated with short- and long-term prognosis for horses undergoing repeated celiotomy within 14 days after the first colic surgery.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—95 horses that had undergone 2 celiotomies within a 14-day period between 2005 and 2013 at 3 equine referral hospitals.

Procedures—Historical, clinical, and laboratory data were compared between horses that did not survive and horses that did survive to hospital discharge (short-term survival rate) and to > 3 and > 6 months after hospital discharge (long-term survival rates).

Results—Strangulating small intestinal lesions were the most common finding during the first celiotomy (60/95 [63.2%]), and persistent gastric reflux was the most common reason for the second celiotomy (56/95 [58.9%]). Reasons for a second celiotomy were not associated with survival rate. For horses that had long-term follow-up, 22 of 92 (23.9%) survived > 6 months after hospital discharge. Two of 13 horses with intestinal resections during both surgeries survived to > 6 months after hospital discharge. Compared with horses not undergoing intestinal resection, significantly fewer horses requiring resection during 1 or both surgeries survived to hospital discharge and to > 3 and > 6 months after hospital discharge. Incisional infections occurred in 68.4% (26/38) of horses that survived to hospital discharge, and 31.6% (12/38) developed incisional hernias or dehiscence.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the prognosis for horses undergoing repeated celiotomy is guarded, and intestinal resection negatively affects the long-term survival rate.

Contributor Notes

Presented in abstract form at the 11th International Colic Research Symposium, Dublin, Ireland, July 2014; and the 23rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, Copenhagen, July 2014.

The authors thank Hayley Whitaker and Lynn Irving for help in locating files.

Address correspondence to Dr. Dunkel (bdunkel@rvc.ac.uk).