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Updated 2/24/08


If we fix the problem in the abdomen, what are the chances that this will happen again?  Recurrence is more likely with some lesions. You should be aware of the general recurrence rate for the specific problem that we treat. A few percentages include:

Large colon volvulus: 5% non broodmare & 15+% in a broodmare recurrence rate.

Left dorsal displacement of large colon: 5%-20% recurrence rate.


Anesthesia.  Anesthesia poses a substantial risk. Horses with severe intestinal problems are often in shock and this makes administering anesthesia difficult and riskier.  Horses can also suffer from muscle damage from pressure during surgery.

Recovery.  Horses can injure themselves in recovery from anesthesia.  We have a special assisted recovery system that we feel improves the quality of recovery.

Postoperative Complications.  Postoperative complications are linked to the type of colic, the duration of colic, the physiologic condition of the horse and the findings at surgery. Some of the more frequent postoperative complications include peritonitis (infection of the abdominal cavity), colitis (inflammation of the large intestine which can lead to severe diarrhea), laminitis, ileus (paralysis of the intestine following surgery), and adhesion formation between the intestine and other organs. Horses can be very ill for days after surgery and almost always require intensive care.

Hospital Stay.  The duration of the hospital stay depends on factors like the type and duration of colic, the severity of intestinal damage and occurrence of complications. Average hospital stay after surgery is 7 days.

Post-Operative Care.  Strict stall confinement is required until the abdominal incision heals. This is typically 60 days of stall confinement with hand walking, then 30 more days in a stall and run, also with walking.  It takes months for the abdominal incision to heal with much strength. Until healing of this abdominal wall takes place, exercise at speed must be avoided to prevent breakdown of the incision from stress. Skin staples or sutures are removed at about 14 days after surgery.

During this time it is important that you monitor the horse carefully for any signs of a problem including:    

a.Inappetence or depression. Any change of attitude.

b.Swelling or drainage at the incision site.

c.Colic signs.


Signs of laminitis, i.e. stiffness or soreness when walking

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