Objective—To examine factors associated with short- and long-term prognosis for horses undergoing repeated celiotomy within 14 days after the first colic surgery.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—95 horses that had undergone 2 celiotomies within a 14-day period between 2005 and 2013 at 3 equine referral hospitals.
Procedures—Historical, clinical, and laboratory data were compared between horses that did not survive and horses that did survive to hospital discharge (short-term survival rate) and to > 3 and > 6 months after hospital discharge (long-term survival rates).
Results—Strangulating small intestinal lesions were the most common finding during the first celiotomy (60/95 [63.2%]), and persistent gastric reflux was the most common reason for the second celiotomy (56/95 [58.9%]). Reasons for a second celiotomy were not associated with survival rate. For horses that had long-term follow-up, 22 of 92 (23.9%) survived > 6 months after hospital discharge. Two of 13 horses with intestinal resections during both surgeries survived to > 6 months after hospital discharge. Compared with horses not undergoing intestinal resection, significantly fewer horses requiring resection during 1 or both surgeries survived to hospital discharge and to > 3 and > 6 months after hospital discharge. Incisional infections occurred in 68.4% (26/38) of horses that survived to hospital discharge, and 31.6% (12/38) developed incisional hernias or dehiscence.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the prognosis for horses undergoing repeated celiotomy is guarded, and intestinal resection negatively affects the long-term survival rate.