Case Description—6 horses were determined to have torsion of a liver lobe at 4 referral institutions over a 21-year period.
Clinical Findings—Clinical findings were nonspecific but often included signs of marked inflammation. Two of the 6 horses were examined because of colic, and 2 were assessed because of peritonitis that failed to respond to treatment; the remaining 2 horses were examined because of nonspecific clinical signs that included inappetence, lethargy, and weight loss. The results of laboratory tests were widely variable, and values for liver enzyme activities were typically within reference limits or only mildly increased. Most affected horses had markedly increased peritoneal nucleated cell counts.
Treatment and Outcome—Exploratory laparotomy and resection of the affected liver lobe was performed in 5 horses. Three of those patients survived to discharge.
Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that diagnosis of liver lobe torsion in horses may be difficult because clinical signs and results of laboratory testing are nonspecific and variable. Most affected horses had markedly abnormal peritoneal fluid. The prognosis for hepatic lobe torsion can be good, and early surgical correction is expected to improve outcome.