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Can Vet J. 1983 Mar;24(3):76-85.

Mortality rates and associated factors in equine colic operations - a retrospective study of 341 operations.


A retrospective survey of 300 surgical treatments for colic involving 341 interventions was carried out to determine mortality rates and associated factors. These horses had been referred to the Ontario Veterinary College over the period September 1974 to February 1980. Data from the case records was collected and stored on a computer and statistical analysis was carried out using X(2) tests.Fifty percent (150/300) of the horses survived to be discharged from the hospital. Fifty-two horses were euthanized during the operation and another ten horses should have been; if these cases are excluded the overall survival rate is 64.7% (150/232). A wide range of breeds were involved but the breed did not significantly affect survival. There was a significantly greater occurrence of serious colic in the two week to two month and one to two year age groups and significantly less in the two to four year age groups when compared with the total number of horses admitted over the same period. There was an even distribution of male and female horses but males showed a significantly lower mortality rate (57% of the males survived compared with 43% of the females). The size of the animal did not affect survival significantly. There was no seasonal variation when compared with the total number of equine patients.Survival was significantly influenced by the lesion, the preoperative packed cell volume and total plasma protein and by the length of the surgical procedure.

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