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OBJECTIVE To describe clinical features and outcome of horses with severe large intestinal thickening diagnosed with transabdominal ultrasonography.

DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 25 horses.

PROCEDURES Medical records of horses that underwent transabdominal ultrasonography between 2003 and 2010 were reviewed. Horses were included if the wall of the large intestine was ≥ 9 mm thick in any of 6 abdominal zones.

RESULTS Median age was 13 years (range, 3 to 28 years). Horses were initially examined because of colic, diarrhea, inappetence, weight loss, lethargy, fever, or hematuria. Severe large intestinal thickening (range, 9 to 46.6 mm; mean ± SD, 18.8 ± 6.8 mm) was the primary ultrasonographic finding in all horses. Thickened large intestine was more likely to be detected in ventral versus upper (ie, combined paralumbar and intercostal) abdominal zones and in right versus left zones. Eleven horses survived and had resolution of clinical signs, including the l horse treated surgically for colon torsion. An additional horse survived but continued to have intermittent colic. Ten horses were euthanized or died, including 3 horses with neoplasia and 3 with colitis. Three horses were lost to follow-up, including 1 horse with a cecal mass and 1 with hepatosplenic lymphoma. Severity of thickening and number of zones affected were not significantly different between survivors and nonsurvivors.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that in horses undergoing transabdominal ultrasonography, large intestinal wall thickness ≥ 9 mm may be detected in patients with a variety of conditions. Ultrasonographic examination of all abdominal zones was helpful to determine the extent of thickening and identify additional findings that helped prioritize differential diagnoses.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To assess the long-term clinical outcome of horses with distal tarsal osteoarthritis (OA) in which a 3-drill-tract technique was used to induce arthrodesis of the affected joints, identify any preoperative or operative factors associated with outcome, and describe any complications associated with the technique.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—54 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, use, history, physical and lameness examination findings, surgical technique, and postoperative care. Radiographs were examined, and severity of OA was graded. Follow-up information was obtained through telephone interviews with owners at least 13 months after the procedure.

Results—32 (59%) horses had a successful outcome, 6 (11%) improved but were not sound after surgery, and 16 (30%) did not improve following surgery. Outcome was negatively associated with the previous use of intra-articular injections. Few postoperative complications were evident.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that distal tarsal OA in horses can be successfully treated by means of distal tarsal arthrodesis with a 3-drill-tract technique. Horses with advanced distal tarsal OA are likely to have poorer outcomes, and the procedure will likely be of minimal benefit in horses with concomitant causes of hind limb lameness prior to surgery and in horses with preexisting proximal intertarsal joint disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223;1800–1805)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association