EQUUS - - Eq Medicalfro­nt -

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

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