Enteritis In Horses: A Source Of Colic And Of Mystery

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Fan favorite California Chrome may have suffered a bout of enteritis since his arrival to Arrow Stud in Japan, but one veterinarian familiar with the illness says there’s no reason to be concerned about his long-term health.

Enteritis is the inflammation of either the large or small intestine and often results in part of the intestine failing to move its contents along, which causes it to stretch out and become painful. In horses, enteritis presents as a classic colic, with symptoms of abdominal pain like elevated heart rate, lack of manure, and restlessness which could include a horse touching or kicking at its sides. Enteritis in the small intestine is most common in foals, while large intestinal enteritis is most common in adult horses.

Dr. Bryan Waldridge, veterinarian at Park Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., said typical presentations of enteritis will also have reflux of stomach contents through a nasogastric tube. Because the contents can’t keep moving through the intestine as normal, they’ll backfill into the stomach, which causes the horse discomfort. Ultrasound can also show a veterinarian where intestinal contents have backed up.

 

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