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J Equine Vet Sci. 2019 May;76:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2019.02.023. Epub 2019 Mar 6.

Colic Prevention to Avoid Colic Surgery: A Surgeon's Perspective.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. Electronic address:


Management factors associated with colic, particularly related to stall confinement and nutrition, have been linked to alterations in gastrointestinal mucosal transport, motility, and microbiome, which in turn creates conditions that induce colic. In particular, meal feeding creates large changes in water movement in and out of the colon and alters the microbiome. These conditions may in turn result in colic conditions such as large colon impaction or large colon volvulus. In addition, a range of management and nutritional factors have been found to place horses at risk of select colic conditions such as ileal impaction. Other specific colic conditions, such as strangulating lipomas, may be related to fat metabolism in geldings and ponies, although the association with nutrition and the endocrine system are less well defined. It has long been understood that parasites are associated with colic, and with the advent of highly effective anthelmintics, parasite-induced colic has been markedly reduced. Nonetheless, equine mangers and veterinarians have to be aware of changes in parasite resistance or patterns of activity, such as the resurgence of large strongyles with surveillance-based management of parasites. Overall, understanding management risk factors can lead to recommendations that prevent colic in horses. Additional study of these factors may ultimately lead to reductions in the prevalence of colic by suggesting optimal management practices.


Forage; Impaction; Lipoma; Volvulus


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