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Can Vet J. 2011 Jul;52(7):759-63.

Ileal impaction in 245 horses: 1995-2007.

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Oklahoma Equine Hospital, 2652 Reece Lake Road, Washington, Oklahoma 73093, USA.


The objective of this study was to identify parameters that would assist in determining the probability of a successful outcome with medical management versus surgical intervention in horses with ileal impaction. Medical records of 245 horses admitted for ileal impaction were reviewed and placed into 2 groups: medical (med) and surgical (sx) treatment. Persistence of abdominal pain, gastric reflux, frequency of analgesic administration, and 1-year survival were evaluated. There were no differences in signalment, abdominal pain, or heart rate among groups; however, significantly more sx horses had peritoneal fluid abnormalities (51%) and produced gastric reflux (62%) than did med horses (38% and 15%, respectively). Eighty-nine percent of med horses required repeated analgesic administration for successful resolution. One-year survival was 91% for sx horses and 92% for med horses. Horses with ileal impaction responsive to analgesic therapy with minimal gastric reflux are likely to be managed successfully with medical treatment. Horses with persistent abdominal pain and gastric reflux are candidates for surgery.

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