Sand colic

EQUUS - - Prevention -

► Def­i­ni­tion: ab­dom­i­nal pain re­sult­ing from an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of sand in the large in­tes­tine ► Causes: long-term in­ges­tion of gritty dirt along with a horse’s feed and/or for­age ► Signs: range from very mild, stem­ming from ir­ri­ta­tion of the gut wall, to se­vere, if the sand has to­tally ob­structed or

caused a tor­sion in the in­tes­tine. Signs of mild dis­com­fort in­clude paw­ing the ground, rest­less­ness, and look­ing or bit­ing at the ab­domen on the milder side. Horses in more se­vere pain may start sweat­ing, rolling, and have an in­creased res­pi­ra­tory rate and pulse. A few horses will have mild, chronic di­ar­rhea with or with­out overtly col­icky be­hav­ior. ► Di­ag­no­sis: Ra­di­og­ra­phy

is the most ef­fec­tive way to de­ter­mine whether a horse has a sig­nif­i­cant amount of sand in his in­tes­tine. A fe­cal sand test, which looks for gritty par­ti­cles passed in ma­nure, can de­tect sand ac­cu­mu­la­tion in about half of all cases. A rec­tal exam is even less ef­fec­tive, be­cause the heavy sand can pull the in­tes­tine down out of the vet­eri­nar­ian’s reach. ► Treat­ment: Anal­gesic and

non­s­teroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs will be ad­min­is­tered to ease pain as well as in­flam­ma­tion in the gut wall ir­ri­tated by the grains of sand. Flu­ids and lax­a­tives, in­clud­ing psyl­lium and min­eral oil, may be ad­min­is­tered in an at­tempt to flush out the sand. Horses who do not re­spond promptly to med­i­cal treat­ment may re­quire surgery to re­move the for­eign ma­te­rial.

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