Objective—To describe myoelectric activity of the
spiral colon in healthy cows.
Animals—7 lactating Simmental X Red-Holstein
Procedure—Cows were implanted with 7 pairs of
bipolar silver electrodes (4 in the spiral colon and 1
each in the cecum, distal part of the ileum, and proximal
loop of the ascending colon [PLAC]). Myo-electric
activity was recorded during 4 days for each cow.
Patterns were analyzed, using computer-based methods.
Results—Myoelectric activity of the spiral colon
was closely associated with motility of the ileum
and PLAC and showed the typical organization of
migrating myoelectric complexes (MMC). The
MMC in the bovine spiral colon (bcMMC) had a
mean ± SD duration of 188.6 ± 30.8 minutes and
was divided into 4 phases. Phases I and II lasted
11.3 ± 1.4 and 159.4 ± 33.3 minutes, respectively.
Phase III (duration, 5.4 ± 1.2 minutes) was characterized
by 5.2 ± 0.9 regular spindles (35.4 ± 5.4
seconds) and 1 final elongated spindle (137.2 ±
56.4 seconds). Phase III most commonly (73.8 ±
16.1%) was followed by phase IV (duration, 17.3 ±
3.6 minutes). Propagation velocity of phase III
was 4.4 ± 0.5 cm/min, and 13.6% of bcMMC
were incompletely propagated through the spiral
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Myoelectric activity of the bovine
spiral colon is composed of a recurring cyclic pattern
similar to MMC of the small intestine. Data of
colonic myoelectric activity in healthy cows will
serve as a basis for studies on cecal dilatation and
dislocation in cattle. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:78–93)