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Vet J. 2011 Apr;188(1):77-82. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.02.017. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

Evaluation of a protocol for fast localised abdominal sonography of horses (FLASH) admitted for colic.

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  • 1Imaging Section, Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals and Equids, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Sart-Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium.


The aim of this prospective study was to establish a protocol for fast localised abdominal sonography of horses (FLASH) admitted for colic. The FLASH protocol was then presented to clinicians without extensive ultrasound (US) experience to determine whether they could learn to use it in less than 15 min. The clinical subjects comprised 36 horses that had been referred for colic over a 2 month period. Each horse was examined at admission and FLASH findings at seven topographical locations were compared to serial clinical examinations, surgical and non-surgical outcomes, or with post-mortem reports. FLASH was able to show free abdominal fluid and abnormal intestinal loops, with a mean time of 10.7 min required to complete the protocol. The positive and negative predictive values of requirement for surgery of dilated turgid small intestinal loops using FLASH were 88.89% and 81.48%, respectively. The results suggested that FLASH is a technique that can be used in an emergency setting by veterinarians without extensive US experience to detect major intra-abdominal abnormalities in horses with colic.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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