The gastrosplenic ligament in horses is a band of omentum that extends from the hilus of the spleen to the left part of the greater curvature of the stomach (Figure 1). It is confluent with the greater omentum, and its blood supply is derived from the gastroepiploic arteries.1,2 Herniation through the ligament, although uncommon, has been reported with prevalence rates ranging from 0.3% to 2% in horses.3,4,5 Although the most common segment of the intestine to become incarcerated through the ligament is the small intestine, herniation of the small or large colon has also been reported.6,7,8,9
In a recent retrospective study3 of 300 horses that underwent surgical management of acute abdominal conditions, approximately half of the horses had lesions affecting the small intestine. Strangulating lipomas and epiploic foramen entrapments were the most common small intestinal lesions reported, representing 27% and 10% of cases, respectively.3 Previously published case series have collectively reported on 10 horses with ISIGL that ranged in age from 8 to 23 years and were evaluated because of acute colic signs.8,9 Surgical correction was performed in 8 horses and resulted in good short-term outcomes. Long-term follow-up was reported in only 3 cases.
The purpose of the study reported here was to determine prevalence, clinical findings, and long-term survival rate after surgery associated with ISIGL in horses. We hypothesized that ISIGL is rare but associated with a good survival rate.
Incarceration of the small intestine through the gastrosplenic ligament
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