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Can Vet J. 2005 Feb;46(2):134-40.

Evaluation of gastrointestinal activity patterns in healthy horses using B mode and Doppler ultrasonography.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, 225 Veterinary Medical Center, 1365 Gortner Avenue, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.


Healthy adult horses were examined by using transabdominal ultrasonography to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate activity of the jejunum, cecum, and colon with B mode and Doppler techniques. Doppler ultrasound was used to assess jejunal peristaltic activity. Examinations were performed on multiple occasions under imposed colic evaluation conditions, including fasting, nasogastric intubation, and xylazine sedation. In fasted horses, jejunal visibility was increased and jejunal, cecal, and colonic activity was decreased. The stomach was displaced ventrally and was visualized ventral to the costochondral junction. Xylazine sedation in fed horses had minimal effects; however, in fasted horses, xylazine significantly decreased jejunal and cecal activity. Nasogastric intubation in fasted horses had no observable effects on activity, but moved the stomach dorsally. B mode and Doppler jejunal activity were strongly correlated. Prior feeding and sedation status need to be considered when interpreting the results of equine abdominal ultrasound examinations. Doppler techniques may be useful for assessing jejunal activity.

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