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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1989 Sep 15;195(6):757-64.

Strangulating volvulus of the ascending colon in horses.

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Department of Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


Of 57 horses with strangulating volvulus of the ascending colon, 42 were mares (including 21 postparturient mares), 8 were stallions, and 7 were geldings. Volvulus occurred most frequently in the summer (n = 24) and spring (n = 17). Pain was evaluated as severe in 41 horses, moderate in 9, and mild in 4. The abdominal fluid from 30 horses varied from clear yellow in 19 horses, to cloudy yellow in 3 horses, and serosanguineous in 8 horses. Protein content and nucleated cell count in the abdominal fluid were 2.5 +/- 1 g/dl and 1,000 +/- 900 microliters, respectively. Fifty horses had greater than or equal to 360 degrees volvulus and 7 had a 270 degrees volvulus, with 49 occurring in a counterclockwise direction. The site of volvulus in all horses was at the mesenteric attachment of the colon, except for a 360 degrees volvulus at the sternal and diaphragmatic flexures in 1 horse. Survival rates for horses with a greater than or equal to 360 degrees and a 270 degrees volvulus were 36% and 71%, respectively. The difference in survival rates reflected the severe vascular occlusion in the colon of horses with greater than or equal to 360 degrees volvulus. In nonsurvivors, hemorrhage in the submucosa and lamina propria (P less than 0.005) and edema in the submucosa (P less than 0.01) were greater than those in survivors. In nonsurvivors, greater than 97% of the superficial epithelium was lost. In horses that survived, only 60% of the cells were lost or degenerated.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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