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  • Author or Editor: Holly L. Stewart x
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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.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To characterize the fecal microbiota of horses and to investigate alterations in that microbiota on the basis of sample collection site (rectum vs stall floor), sample location within the fecal ball (center vs surface), and duration of environmental exposure (collection time).

ANIMALS 6 healthy adult mixed-breed mares.

PROCEDURES From each horse, feces were collected from the rectum and placed on a straw-bedded stall floor. A fecal ball was selected for analysis immediately after removal from the rectum and at 0 (immediately), 2, 6, 12, and 24 hours after placement on the stall floor. Approximately 250 mg of feces was extracted from the surface and center of each fecal ball, and genomic DNA was extracted, purified, amplified for the V1-V2 hypervariable region of the 16S rDNA gene, and analyzed with a bioinformatics pipeline.

RESULTS The fecal microbiota was unique for each horse. Bacterial community composition varied significantly between center and surface fecal samples but was not affected by collection time. Bacterial community composition varied rapidly for surface fecal samples. Individual bacterial taxa were significantly associated with both sample location and collection time but remained fairly stable for up to 6 hours for center fecal samples.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that, for horses, fecal samples for microbiota analysis should be extracted from the center of fecal balls collected within 6 hours after defecation. Samples obtained up to 24 hours after defecation can be analyzed with the realization that some bacterial populations may deviate from those immediately after defecation.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare the effects of autologous equine serum (AES) and autologous conditioned serum (ACS) on equine articular chondrocyte metabolism when stimulated with recombinant human (rh) interleukin (IL)-1β.

Sample—Articular cartilage and nonconditioned and conditioned serum from 6 young adult horses.

Procedures—Cartilage samples were digested, and chondrocytes were isolated and formed into pellets. Chondrocyte pellets were treated with each of the following: 10% AES, 10% AES and rhIL-1β, 20% AES and rhIL-1β, 10% ACS and rhIL-1β, and 20% ACS and rhIL-1β, and various effects of these treatments were measured.

Results—Recombinant human IL-1β treatment led to a decrease in chondrocyte glycosaminoglycan synthesis and collagen II mRNA expression and an increase in medium matrix metalloproteinase-3 activity and cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression. When results of ACS and rhIL-1β treatment were compared with those of AES and rhIL-1β treatment, no difference was evident in glycosaminoglycan release, total glycosaminoglycan concentration, total DNA content, or matrix metalloproteinase-3 activity. A significant increase was found in chondrocyte glycosaminoglycan synthesis with 20% AES and rhIL-1β versus 10% ACS and rhIL-1β. The medium from ACS and rhIL-1β treatment had a higher concentration of IL-1β receptor antagonist, compared with medium from AES and rhIL-1β treatment. Treatment with 20% ACS and rhIL-1β resulted in a higher medium insulin-like growth factor-I concentration than did treatment with 10% AES and rhIL-1β. No difference in mRNA expression was found between ACS and rhIL-1β treatment and AES and rhIL-1β treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Minimal beneficial effects of ACS treatment on proteoglycan matrix metabolism in equine chonrocytes were evident, compared with the effects of AES treatment.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To describe the technique and assess the diagnostic potential and limitations of tomosynthesis for imaging of the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) of equine cadavers; compare the tomosynthesis appearance of pathological lesions with their conventional radiographic, CT, and MRI appearances; and evaluate all imaging findings with gross lesions of a given MCPJ.


Distal portions of 4 forelimbs from 4 equine cadavers.


The MCPJs underwent radiography, tomosynthesis (with a purpose-built benchtop unit), CT, and MRI; thereafter, MCPJs were disarticulated and evaluated for the presence of gross lesions. The ability to identify pathological lesions on all images was assessed, followed by semiobjective scoring for quality of the overall image and appearance of the subchondral bone, articular cartilage, periarticular margins, and adjacent trabecular bone of the third metacarpal bone, proximal phalanx, and proximal sesamoid bones of each MCPJ.


Some pathological lesions in the subchondral bone of the third metacarpal bone were detectable with tomosynthesis but not with radiography. Overall, tomosynthesis was comparable to radiography, but volumetric imaging modalities were superior to tomosynthesis and radiography for imaging of subchondral bone, articular cartilage, periarticular margins, and adjacent bone.


With regard to the diagnostic characterization of equine MCPJs, tomosynthesis may be more accurate than radiography for identification of lesions within subchondral bone because, in part, of its ability to reduce superimposition of regional anatomic features. Tomosynthesis may be useful as an adjunctive imaging technique, highlighting subtle lesions within bone, compared with standard radiographic findings.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research