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  • Author or Editor: Anthony Claes x
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Objective—To identify risk factors for rectal tears in horses; assess the effect of initiating cause on tear location, size, and distance from anus; and determine short-term survival rate among horses with various grades of rectal tears.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—99 horses.

Procedures—Medical records for horses with a rectal tear were reviewed, and data including age; sex; breed; cause, location, and size of the tear and its distance from the anus; tear grade; treatment; and outcome (short-term survival [ie, survival to discharge from the hospital] vs nonsurvival) were recorded. Data for age, sex, and breed of horses with rectal tears were compared with data for all horses evaluated at the hospital during the same interval to determine risk factors for rectal tears.

Results—Arabians, American Miniature Horses, mares, and horses > 9 years of age were more likely to develop a rectal tear than other breeds, males, or younger horses. Dystocia had a significant influence on rectal tear size. Location of a rectal tear and its distance from the anus were not associated with cause. Applied treatments for grade 1, 2, and 3 rectal tears were effective, unlike treatments for grade 4 rectal tears. Irrespective of treatment, the overall short-term survival rate among horses with grade 1, 2, 3, and 4 rectal tears was 100%, 100%, 38%, and 2%, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Accurate identification of risk factors could help practitioners and owners implement adequate measures to prevent the development of rectal tears in horses.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association