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  • Author or Editor: Kathryn M. Krista x
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Objective—To determine how survival rates in geriatric horses (≥ 20 years old) undergoing abdominal exploratory surgery for colic compare with survival rates for younger (nongeriatric) horses.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—56 geriatric horses and 487 nongeriatric horses undergoing exploratory celiotomy for colic.

Procedures—Medical records of all horses undergoing emergency abdominal exploratory surgery for primary gastrointestinal tract lesions over a 10-year period were reviewed. Data retrieved included signalment, primary gastrointestinal tract lesion, whether the horse was discharged from the hospital alive, and reason (if applicable) for euthanasia or death either during surgery or prior to hospital discharge. Survival rates were calculated and compared between the geriatric and nongeriatric populations for strangulating and nonstrangulating small intestinal, cecal, large colon, and small colon lesions. Information on long-term outcome was obtained via telephone contact with owners or referring veterinarians.

Results—Survival rate at the time of hospital discharge was 50% (28/56) for geriatric horses and 72% (352/487) for nongeriatric horses. Of horses that survived surgery and anesthetic recovery, 82% (28/34) of geriatric horses and 89% (352/396) of nongeriatric horses were discharged from the hospital alive. Seventy percent (14/20) of geriatric horses and 84% (108/129) of nongeriatric horses with long-term follow-up information survived > 1 year after surgery.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Survival rate at the time of hospital discharge was significantly lower for geriatric horses, compared with that for nongeriatric horses. The primary reason for this difference in survival rates between the 2 groups appeared to be related to the significantly higher number of geriatric horses euthanized during surgery.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To quantify peripheral blood neutrophil apoptosis in equine patients with acute abdominal disease (ie, colic) caused by strangulating or nonstrangulating intestinal lesions and compare these values with values for horses undergoing elective arthroscopic surgery.

Animals—20 client-owned adult horses.

Procedures—Peripheral blood was collected from horses immediately prior to and 24 hours after surgery for treatment of colic (n = 10) or elective arthroscopic surgery (10), and neutrophils were counted. Following isolation by means of a bilayer colloidal silica particle gradient and culture for 24 hours, the proportion of neutrophils in apoptosis was detected by flow cytometric evaluation of cells stained with annexin V and 7-aminoactinomycin D. Values were compared between the colic and arthroscopy groups; among horses with colic, values were further compared between horses with and without strangulating intestinal lesions.

Results—Percentage recovery of neutrophils was significantly smaller in preoperative samples (median, 32.5%) and in all samples combined (35.5%) for the colic group, compared with the arthroscopy group (median, 66.5% and 58.0%, respectively). No significant differences in the percentages of apoptotic neutrophils were detected between these groups. Among horses with colic, those with strangulating intestinal lesions had a significantly lower proportion of circulating apoptotic neutrophils in postoperative samples (median, 18.0%) than did those with nonstrangulating lesions (66.3%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The smaller proportion of apoptotic neutrophils in horses with intestinal strangulation suggested that the inflammatory response could be greater or prolonged, compared with that of horses with nonstrangulating intestinal lesions. Further investigations are needed to better understand the relationship between neutrophil apoptosis and inflammation during intestinal injury.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research