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  • Author or Editor: Andrew J. Dant x
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Summary

Packed cell volume, total plasma protein, serum sodium, potassium, and ionized Ca2+ concentrations, and blood pH were determined at the time of admission and following surgery in 147 horses with acute abdominal crisis. Horses were allotted to 3 categories on the basis of the surgical lesion: (1) nonstrangulating obstruction of the ascending or descending colon (category A, n = 76), (2) strangulating and nonstrangulating infarction of the cecum or ascending colon (category B, n = 37), and (3) strangulating and nonstrangulating infarction of the small intestine (category C, n = 25). Horses with low serum ionized Ca2+ concentration following surgery were given 23% calcium gluconate (100 to 300 ml) IV to effect, and ionized Ca2+ concentration was determined following treatment.

The serum ionized Ca2+ concentrations of horses in categories A, B, and C before and after surgery were lower than our normal laboratory reference range. Prior to surgery, serum ionized Ca2+ concentration measured from horses in category B and C was lower than that in horses in category A. There was no difference in ionized Ca2+ concentration in serum samples obtained before surgery in horses from category B and C, and in serum samples obtained following surgery. There was a decrease in ionized Ca2+ concentration during surgery in horses in category A. There was no change between preoperative and postoperative ionized Ca2+ concentration in the samples obtained from horses in category B and C. After calcium gluconate administration, all horses with low serum ionized Ca2+ after surgery had concentrations within our normal range.

Measurement of serum ionized Ca2+ in horses with an acute abdominal crisis is recommended. If concentrations are low, calcium gluconate diluted in fluids and administered iv to effect appears to provide an effective method of treatment.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association