PROGNOSIS GUARDED FOR REPEAT COLIC SURGERY
The prognosis is guarded for horses who undergo a second colic surgery within eight weeks of the first, according to a new study from England.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool reviewed the records of 1,531 horses who had colic surgery at the university clinic over a 10-year period. Of those horses, 6.3 percent required another surgery within two months.
The most common reason for the second procedure— accounting for 76 percent of the cases—was persistent colic. Other reasons included postoperative reflux (overfilling of the stomach caused by slow gut motility); hemoperitoneum (the presence of blood in the abdominal cavity); septic peritonitis (abdominal infection caused by leaks in the intestinal tract) and failure of the surgical incision.
None of the horses who underwent a second surgery to address septic peritonitis survived, and the short-term survival rate for those undergoing a second procedure because of persistent colic was 53 percent. The survival rate for horses with failure of the surgical incision site was 50 percent and it was 37 percent for those with postoperative reflux. Horses with hemoperitoneum survived the second surgery 17 percent of the time.
The overall mean survival time was only six days, with many of the worst cases being euthanatized during the second surgery. However, the mean survival rate for horses who recovered from the surgery was 778 days.
The researchers say this data can help veterinarians and their clients make informed decisions regarding the benefit of a second surgery in difficult colic cases.
Reference: “Factors associated with survival of horses following relaparotomy,” Equine Veterinary Journal, August 2016