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  • Author or Editor: Ryan Rothenbuhler x
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Abstract

Case Description—3 horses were examined and treated because of sudden onset of signs of abdominal pain.

Clinical Findings—All horses had a retrosternal (Morgagni) hernia involving the right side of the diaphragm. In each horse, the large colon was incarcerated in a right muscular defect in the diaphragm with a large hernial sac.

Treatment and Outcome—Definitive surgical repair of the hernia was not performed during the initial celiotomy. The hernia was repaired with mesh herniorrhaphy, but without resection of the hernia sac in 2 horses. For 1 horse, conservative management was applied. In the 2 horses treated with surgical correction, no major postoperative complications developed, and all 3 horses have been free of signs of abdominal pain.

Clinical Relevance—Horses with retrosternal hernias involving the diaphragm can develop clinical signs of intermittent obstruction of the large colon and chronic colic. In horses, retrosternal diaphragmatic hernias appear to develop exclusively in the right ventral aspect of the diaphragm and could represent an embryologic defect of diaphragm formation. Affected horses can be successfully treated with mesh herniorrhaphy or, in some instances, with conservative management.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether heavy (≥ 680 kg [≥ 1,500 lb]) draft horses undergoing surgical treatment for acute signs of abdominal pain were at a greater risk for anesthetic and postoperative complications and lower postoperative survival rates than light (< 680 kg) draft horses.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—72 draft horses.

Procedures—Medical records of draft horses that underwent exploratory celiotomy for signs of acute abdominal pain from October 1983 to December 2002 were reviewed. Medical records of draft horses in which a celiotomy was performed for correction of reproductive abnormalities were not included in the study.

Results—When compared with light draft horses, heavy draft horses had longer durations of anesthesia, more postoperative complications, and lower survival rates. Seventy-six percent of horses that recovered from anesthesia had postoperative complications. Postoperative complications associated with low survival rates included myopathy and neuropathy, ileus, diarrhea, and endotoxemia. All horses with postoperative myopathy and neuropathy died or were euthanized. The short-term survival rate for horses that recovered from anesthesia was 60%. Horses undergoing small intestinal surgery had a worse prognosis for short-term survival than those undergoing large intestinal surgery. The survival rate for horses for which long-term (> 1 year) follow-up information was available was 50%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Draft horses weighing > 680 kg that underwent surgery because of acute signs of abdominal pain had longer durations of anesthesia, more postoperative complications, and higher mortality rates than draft horses weighing < 680 kg.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association