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  • Author or Editor: Diana M. Hassel x
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Objective—To characterize the texture, mineralogic features, and chemical features of enteroliths obtained from horses.

Sample Population—Enteroliths from 13 horses with colic.

Procedure—Enteroliths were harvested from 13 horses that underwent ventral midline celiotomy for treatment of colic or necropsy because of colonic obstruction and rupture caused by enteroliths. Dietary and environmental history were determined via questionnaires or evaluation of medical records. In 7 horses that underwent surgical treatment for enterolithiasis, samples of colonic contents were obtained via an enterotomy in the pelvic flexure. Colonic concentrations of magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and potassium (K) were determined. Enteroliths were analyzed via electron microprobe analysis and X-ray diffraction.

Results—Enteroliths varied widely regarding degree of porosity, presence and distribution of radiating texture, and composition and size of the central nidus. A distinct concentric banding was identifiable in all enteroliths. Struvite was the predominant component of all enteroliths, although Mg vivianite was identified in 5 enteroliths, and there were variable quantities of Na, S, K, and Ca in the struvite within enteroliths. Despite an abundance of Ca in colonic fluids, Mgphosphate minerals were preferentially formed, compared with Ca-phosphates (apatite), in equine enteroliths.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Enteroliths comprise 2 major Mg phosphates: struvite and Mg vivianite. There is wide variability in macrotexture and ionic concentrations between and within enteroliths. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:350–358)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the adsorptive capability of di-tri-octahedral smectite (DTOS) on Clostridium perfringens alpha, beta, and beta-2 exotoxins and equine colostral antibodies.

Sample Population—3 C perfringens exotoxins and 9 colostral samples.

Procedures—Alpha, beta, and beta-2 exotoxins were individually co-incubated with serial dilutions of DTOS or bismuth subsalicylate, and the amount of toxin remaining after incubation was determined via toxin-specific ELISAs. Colostral samples from healthy mares were individually co-incubated with serial dilutions of DTOS, and colostral IgG concentrations were determined via single radial immunodiffusion assay.

Results—Di-tri-octahedral smectite decreased the amount of each C perfringens exotoxin in co-incubated samples in a dose-dependent manner and was more effective than bismuth subsalicylate at reducing exotoxins in vitro. Decreases in the concentration of IgG were detected in samples of colostrum that were combined with DTOS at 1:4 through 1:16 dilutions, whereas no significant decrease was evident with DTOS at the 1:32 dilution.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Di-tri-octahedral smectite effectively adsorbed C perfringens exotoxins in vitro and had a dose-dependent effect on the availability of equine colostral antibodies. Results suggested that DTOS may be an appropriate adjunctive treatment in the management of neonatal clostridiosis in horses. In vivo studies are necessary to fully assess the clinical efficacy of DTOS treatment.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To identify breed, age, sex, physical findings, history, and outcome of treatment in horses and other equids with enterolithiasis.


Retrospective study.


900 equids with enterolithiasis.


Medical records from equids with enterolithiasis admitted between 1973 and 1996 were reviewed. Data on signalment, history, physical examination and clinicopathologic findings, surgical findings, and outcome were compiled from records and from telephone interviews with owners. Sex and breed predilections were determined by comparison of the study population with the general hospital population of equids during the same time period.


Equids with enterolithiasis represented 15.1% of patients admitted for treatment of colic, and 27.5% of patients undergoing celiotomy for treatment of colic. Arabian and Arabian crosses, Morgans, American Saddlebreds, and donkeys were significantly overrepresented, and Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, warmbloods, and stallions were significantly underrepresented in the study population, compared with the hospital population. The mean age of equids with enterolithiasis was 11.4 years. The most common historic findings were signs of intermittent colic (33.3%) and passage of enteroliths in the feces (13.5%). Physical examination findings were similar to those found in equids with other forms of nonstrangulating large colon obstructive disease. Fifteen percent (131) developed gastrointestinal tract rupture caused by an enterolith that necessitated euthanasia. Short-term and 1-year survival rates for equids undergoing celiotomy for treatment of enterolithiasis and recovering from anesthesia were excellent (96.2 and 92.5%, respectively), and postoperative complications were uncommon. Recurrence of enterolithiasis was identified in 7.7% of the study population.

Clinical Implications

Results indicated that short-term and 1-year survival rates for equids undergoing surgery for enterolithiasis are excellent. Identification of signalment, history, and management factors may help identify equids with a high risk for development of enterolithiasis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214;233–237)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association