EQUUS - - Medical Front -

Dig­i­tal ra­di­og­ra­phy can lo­cate enterolith­s in a horse’s gut as well as or bet­ter than do con­ven­tional x-rays.

Enterolith­s are stone­like con­cre­tions0 that form in lay­ers in a horse’s large colon. When they are large or nu­mer­ous, they can cause colic be­cause they in­ter­fere with gut motil­ity or cre­ate block­ages.

Film-based ra­di­og­ra­phy has been the tra­di­tional method of de­tect­ing enterolith­s in horses, but re­cently re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia– Davis de­vised a study to de­ter­mine if dig­i­tal ra­di­ol­ogy, which pro­duces images more quickly, can be equally ef­fec­tive.

The re­searchers re­viewed the records of 238 horses di­ag­nosed with enterolith­s us­ing dig­i­tal ra­di­og­ra­phy who then un­der­went surgery or a post­mortem ex­am­i­na­tion that con­firmed the pres­ence of the stones. The data re­vealed that dig­i­tal ra­di­og­ra­phy had a sen­si­tiv­ity rate of 84 per­cent to de­tect a stone in the large colon, mean­ing that if a stone were present, dig­i­tal ra­di­og­ra­phy could lo­cate it 84 per­cent of the time. This is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than the sen­si­tiv­ity rate of film ra­di­og­ra­phy, which pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown to be 77 per­cent.

The re­searchers also found that dig­i­tal ra­di­og­ra­phy had a speci­ficity rate of 966 per­cent to de­tect a stonee in the large colon, mean­ning that 96 per­cent of the time when a stone isn’t seen on the ra­dio­graphic im­age, none is present. They con­clude that dig­i­tal ra­di­og­ra­phy “has the po­ten­tial to be an im­por­tant part of the di­ag­nos­tic workup of horses and ponies with colic and ab­dom­i­nal dis­ease in [ en­terolith] en­demic ar­eas.” Ref­er­ence: “Use of dig­i­tal ab­dom­i­nal ra­di­og­ra­phy for the di­ag­no­sis of en­terolithi­a­sis in equids: 238 cases ( 2008-2011),” Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, July 2014

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