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Clinical and intestinal histologic features of horses treated for recurrent colic: 66 cases (2006–2015)

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.
  • | 2 Department of Pathobiology, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe gastrointestinal histologic findings for horses with recurrent colic and evaluate possible associations between initial clinical signs, biopsy method, histologic diagnosis, and outcome 1 year after hospital discharge.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 66 horses with a history of recurrent colic for which gastrointestinal specimens had been submitted for histologic examination.

PROCEDURES Histologic diagnosis was categorized as inflammatory, neoplastic, ischemic, other, and undiagnosed. Relationships among initial clinical features, biopsy method, histologic diagnosis, and outcome 1 year after hospital discharge (ie, alive vs dead and persistent recurrent colic [yes vs no]) and between corticosteroid treatment and outcome were investigated. Odds ratios and hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

RESULTS Inflammatory disease (36/66 [55%]) was the most common histologic diagnosis. Horses undergoing rectal biopsy alone were significantly (OR, 14.4; 95% Cl, 2.7 to 76.1) more likely to not have a histologic diagnosis than were horses in which other biopsy methods were used. In multivariable modelling, persistence of recurrent colic (HR, 15.2; 95% Cl, 1.9 to 121.2) and a history of weight loss (HR, 4.9; 95% Cl, 1.4 to 16.5) were significantly associated with outcome (alive vs dead) 1 year after surgery. Corticosteroid treatment was not significantly associated with either outcome.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that a high proportion (36/66 [55%]) of horses with recurrent colic had inflammatory gastrointestinal disease. Use of rectal biopsy alone to obtain biopsy specimens was more likely to result in no histologic diagnosis. Use of corticosteroids in horses with inflammatory gastrointestinal disease was not associated with outcome but warrants further investigation.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table s1 (PDF 27 kb)
    • Supplementary Table s2 (PDF 21 kb)
    • Supplementary Table s3 (PDF 42 kb)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Stewart's present address is Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Address correspondence to Dr. Stewart (holly.stewart@colostate.edu).