Intestinal Adhesions

I have a 16 year old Arabian mare who had surgery for colic on March 31. She was diagnosed with enteritis on March 27 and was treated with fluids, but on March 31, her condition got worse. The veterinarians recommended either surgery or euthanasia. ...I have a 16 year old Arabian mare who had surgery for colic on March 31. She was diagnosed with enteritis on March 27 and was treated with fluids, but on March 31, her condition got worse. The veterinarians recommended either surgery or euthanasia. ...

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder:

I have a 16 year old Arabian mare who had surgery for colic on March 31. She was diagnosed with enteritis on March 27 and was treated with fluids, but on March 31, her condition got worse. The veterinarians recommended either surgery or euthanasia. They were planning to remove the intestine with enteritis, but too much was affected so they did not remove it. Instead they drained it and cleaned up some of the fluid there. They also found a lipoma that was causing a lesion more distally on the small intestine. They removed this lipoma and 4 inches of intestine from this area. She is recovering well from surgery, although she had a few episodes of colic from stomach ulcers. The vets have told me that she is now at risk for developing colic from adhesions of her small intestine. Could you explain why adhesions will develop and also, are there any ways to prevent a horse from being affected by these adhesions?

Thank you for your time,
Julie

Julie,

A good question! The adhesions occur due to trauma to the intestine as they are handle during the operation. The reason they are so sensitive at this time is that they are sick (for a lack of a better word), they are inflamed, swollen, congested and just plain sick. The irritation of the guts (on the inside) due to the disease causes them to be irritated on the outside when handled and they frequently stick to one another. There is nothing you can do but hope.

Thanks,
Dr. Lowder