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Peritonitis was diagnosed in 67 horses between 1985 and 1990: 14 horses developed septic peritonitis after intestinal rupture, 25 horses developed peritonitis after abdominal surgery, and 28 horses had peritonitis not associated with intestinal rupture or abdominal surgery. Forty of 67 horses (59.7%) did not survive. Nonsurvivors had higher heart rates (P = 0.01), RBC count (P = 0.039), serum creatinine concentration (P = 0.036), pcv (P = 0.007), and anion gap (P = 0.005); lower venous blood pH (P = 0.002); and a greater number of bacterial species cultured from peritoneal fluid samples (P = 0.054), compared with those from survivors. Nonsurvivors were more likely to have signs of abdominal pain (P < 0.000), circulatory shock (P = 0.009), and bacteria in peritoneal fluid samples (P = 0.042). Physical examination and peritoneal fluid analysis were the most valuable diagnostic aids for intestinal rupture. Peritonitis after abdominal surgery resulted in high mortality (56%); peritonitis not associated with intestinal rupture or abdominal surgery had lower mortality (42.9%). Clinical and laboratory indices can be of value in determining the prognosis for horses with peritonitis.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To describe the clinical findings in horses with small intestinal strangulation through mesenteric rents, and to determine the recurrence and survival rates after surgery.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—15 horses with small intestinal obstruction via a mesenteric rent.

Procedure—Medical records of horses with obstruction of the small intestine via a mesenteric rent between January 1990 and December 1997 were reviewed. The signalment, history, initial physical examination findings, results of abdominocentesis, and clinical laboratory values were recorded. Surgical findings, including location of the mesenteric rent and surgical procedure performed, were recorded. Shortand long-term survival rates were calculated.

Results—Most mesenteric rents were located in the mesentery of the small intestine (13 horses). Two horses had multiple mesenteric defects. Seven horses were euthanatized at surgery because of an inability to reduce the entrapped intestine (3 horses), uncontrollable hemorrhage (2), inability to close the rent (1), and the amount of compromised intestine involved (1). Seven horses required intestinal resection and anastomosis. The median length of intestine resected was 2.6 m (range, 0.6 to 4.5 m). The mesenteric rents created during resection were not closed in 2 horses. One of these 2 horses subsequently developed a strangulating obstruction through the open rent.

Seven of 15 horses in our study were discharged from the hospital (ie, short-term survival rate of 47% [7/15]). Long-term follow-up information was available for 5 of the 7 horses (follow-up duration of 5 months to 9 years), of which 2 died as a result of colic, and 1 horse was euthanatized because of severe arthritis (ie, long-term survival rate of 40% [2/5]).

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Inability to reduce the intestinal obstruction, severe hemorrhage from the mesentery, and the length of intestine involved are the main factors that decrease survival rates in horses with small intestinal strangulation caused by mesenteric rents. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:1446–1449).

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To determine the IV pharmacokinetics of cisapride and measure systemic absorption after rectal administration.


5 healthy adult mares (380 to 610 kg).


Cisapride was administered, IV, at a dosage of 0.1 mg/kg of body weight. In the same horses, after a 1-week washout period, cisapride was administered rectally at a dosage of 1 mg/kg by mixing crushed tablets with propylene glycol and administering the mixture into the rectum. After each drug administration, a series of blood samples were collected. Plasma was obtained and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography to determine cisapride concentration profiles after each drug administration.


After IV administration, peak plasma concentration was 221.4 ng/ml and harmonic mean half-life was 1.9 hours. Rectal absorption of cisapride was negligible. Cisapride was detected in plasma from only 3 of 5 horses for which mean systemic availability was 1.23%. Mean maximal plasma concentration after rectal administration of cisapride was 13.5 ng/ml.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance

After IV administration of cisapride, plasma concentration is high for approximately 2 hours. Cisapride mixed with propylene glycol and administered rectally at a dosage of 1 mg/kg is poorly and incompletely absorbed. Thus, cisapride is not clinically useful for rectal administration in horses. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1427–1430)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To determine the feasibility of performing a single-incision loop colostomy for treatment of grade-3 rectal tears in horses.


Retrospective case series.


Seven adult horses with grade-3 rectal tears.


A single-incision loop colostomy was performed with horses under general anesthesia (n = 6) or while restrained in standing stocks (n = 1). The rectal tear was lavaged via an endoscope. The colostomy was resected after the rectal tear healed.


Rectal tears ranged from 4 to 10 cm in diameter and were > 25 cm proximal to the anus. All horses survived colostomy surgery. One horse was euthanatized at the request of the owner 1 day after surgery. Six horses underwent colostomy resection 13 to 30 days after colostomy. All horses had evidence of atrophy of the distal portion of the small colon, predisposing to impaction at the small colon anastomosis in 2 horses. One horse was euthanatized while hospitalized because of severe recurrent colic. Five horses were discharged from the hospital 31 to 45 days after admission. One horse was euthanatized 60 months after discharge from the hospital because of severe colic, and 4 horses were alive at the time of follow-up evaluation (3 to 12 months after discharge).

Clinical implications—

The prognosis for horses with grade-3 rectal tears treated by colostomy appears to be favorable.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Medical records of horses that underwent surgical treatment for colic between 1990 and 1992 were reviewed. Horses with a pulse rate of ≥ 60 beats/min or signs of abdominal pain, which were also accompanied by a volume of > 2 L of material that refluxed from the stomach during the postoperative period (excluding horses with anterior enteritis), comprised the postoperative ileus (poi) group. Horses that had < 2 L of material reflux during the postoperative period and survived > 3 days after surgery comprised the reference population. The association of preoperative and intraoperative clinical variables with development of poi was evaluated by use of logistic regression analysis.

Of 148 horses, 117 were assigned to the reference population, and 31 (21%) developed poi. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine that pcv, pulse rate, type and location of lesion detected during surgery, and serum glucose concentration were the most important variables associated with development of poi. Time of recovery from anesthesia to development of poi was 0.5 to 120 hours (median, 13 hours). Duration of poi was 1 to 7 days (median, 1 day). Four of 31 (13%) horses with poi died. Of 148 horses, only 10 (7%) died; however, 4 of the 10 (40%) deaths in the short-term postoperative period were attributable to poi.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


The medical records of 17 horses that were evaluated and treated because of colic caused by pedunculated lipomas between 1983 and 1990 were reviewed. The mean age of the horses was 16.6 ± 3.9 years (range, 10 to 26 years), which was significantly greater than that of the population of horses evaluated because of colic (control population) during the same period. There were significantly more geldings (76.5%), compared with the control population.

Nasogastric reflux ranged from 1 to 16 L in 8 horses and was not obtained in 9 horses. Abdominal palpation per rectum revealed small intestinal distention in 13 horses, displaced large colon in 7 horses, and large colon impaction in 2 horses. Peritoneal fluid was abnormal in 11 of 12 horses from which it was obtained successfully.

One horse was euthanatized after unsuccessful medical treatment. Surgery was performed in 16 horses. Lipomas were blindly resected in 5 horses or exteriorized and resected in 6 horses. The method used to resect the lipoma was not recorded in 5 horses. The ileum and/or jejunum was strangulated in 15 horses, the small colon was strangulated in 1 horse, and the jejunum was obstructed in 1 horse. The length of intestine resected ranged from 0.15 to 7.2 m.

Fourteen horses survived surgery, of which 11 were discharged from the hospital (short-term survival rate of 78.6%). Excluding 2 horses lost to follow-up evaluation, 6 of 12 horses that survived surgery were alive 2 to 56 months following surgery (long-term survival rate of 50%), and 9 of 15 horses died or were euthanatized (fatality rate of 60%).

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association