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To evaluate the use of abdominal ultrasonography as a diagnostic tool in horses with signs of colic.


Prospective study.


226 horses with signs of acute abdominal pain were compared to 20 clinically normal horses.


The following were performed in horses with signs of colic: physical examination, CBC, abdominal fluid analysis, placement of a nasogastric tube to obtain gastric reflux, abdominal palpation per rectum, and ultrasonography of the abdomen. Results of ultrasonography were compared with the surgical, necropsy, or medical findings.


Ultrasonography of horses with primary small-intestine lesions revealed images of small intestine with a wall thickness of 0.2 to 1.8 cm and a diameter of 3.6 to 13.5 cm without evidence of motility. Horses with peritonitis did have evidence of small-intestine motility on ultrasonography with a wall thickness of 0.5 to 1.3 cm and a diameter of 2 to 5.1 cm. Horses with primary large-colon lesions or small-colon impactions had small-intestine diameters on ultrasonographic evaluation of 3 to 7.1 cm. In these horses, small-intestine motility was detected.

If abnormal small intestine that lacked motility was detected by ultrasonographic evaluation, the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for small-intestine strangulation obstructions were 100%. Detection of distended or edematous small intestine by abdominal palpation per rectum provided a sensitivity of 50%, specificity of 98%, positive predictive value of 89%, and negative predictive value of 89% for small-intestine strangulation obstructions.

Clinical Implications

The use of abdominal ultrasonography in horses with signs of colic is accurate for detecting small-intestine strangulation obstructions. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1597–1601)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To evaluate the bactericidal properties of chlorhexidine diacetate (CHD) after potentiation with EDTA and Tris buffer (EDTA-Tris), and to find a potentiated CHD concentration that would achieve 90 to 100% killing for all bacteria tested.


6 adult ponies.


Serial dilutions of CHD, CHD in EDTA-Tris, and EDTA-Tris alone were evaluated for bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus zooepidemicus. The tarsocrural joints of 6 ponies were lavaged with either 1 L of phosphate buffered saline solution (control) or 1 L of 0.0005% CHD in EDTA-Tris. Synovial fluid was collected before lavage and on days 1,4, and 8. Synovia, cartilage, and bone with cartilage were collected on day 8 when the ponies were euthanatized.


In vitro results indicated that 0.0005% CHD in EDTA-Tris was 90% lethal to all bacteria tested. Results of synovial fluid analysis, glycosaminoglycan analysis, and histologic examination of the synovial membrane and articular cartilage indicated that joint lavage with 0.0005% CHD in EDTA-Tris was not detrimental to the synovium or the articular cartilage of pony tarsocrural joints. Changes observed were a result of the actual lavage process, the phosphate-buffered saline solution, and hemarthrosis.


A concentration of 0.0005% CHD in EDTA-Tris was 90% lethal to all bacteria tested. Pony tarsocrural joint lavage with 0.0005% CHD in EDTA-Tris was not detrimental to the synovium or the articular cartilage. The efficacy of 0.0005% CHD potentiated with EDTA-Tris as a potential joint lavage fluid for treatment of infectious arthritis needs to be evaluated in clinical patients. (Am J Vet Res 1996; 57:756–761)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research