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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990 Apr 1;196(7):1130-4.

Differentiation between intra-abdominal neoplasms and abscesses in horses, using clinical and laboratory data: 40 cases (1973-1988).

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Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


The medical records of 25 horses with intra-abdominal neoplasms and 15 horses with intra-abdominal abscesses were reviewed. Common clinical signs of disease observed by owners of horses in both groups included anorexia, weight loss, fever, signs of colic, and depression. Clinical laboratory abnormalities included leukocytosis, hyperfibrinogenemia, hypoalbuminemia, and hypocalcemia. There was considerable overlap of laboratory test results within and between the 2 groups of horses. Peritoneal fluid was classified as an exudate in 12 of 15 horses with intra-abdominal abscesses and in 14 of 25 horses with intra-abdominal neoplasms. Cytologic examination of peritoneal fluid yielded an accurate diagnosis in 11 of 25 horses with neoplasia and in 3 of 15 horses with abscesses. A mean number of 1.45 cytologic analyses/horse was needed to diagnose neoplasms in the 11 horses in which the analysis was successful in definitively diagnosing the condition.

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