June 16, 2012 - Colic Management and Long-Term Survival

  • June 12, 2012
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by Dr. Nancy S. Loving

Looking back over the past several decades, it is evident that advances in colic treatment, both medical and surgical, have improved case results to
an impressive extent. Progress in diagnostic methods, anesthesia approaches, and surgical procedures, combined with information gained through clinical
experiences and research, have all contributed to this headway.

Among the general equine population four to 10 of every 100 horses experience a colic episode during their lifetime; of these, 1-2% require surgical treatment (2006 American Association of Equine Practitioners proceedings). In 35 years of performing colic surgeries, Dr. David Freeman, professor of large animal surgery at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has noticed some trends: For example, 33-50% of referred colic cases now go on to surgery while most of Four to 10 of every 100 horses experience a colic episode during their lifetime the rest are resolved with medical treatment. On the other hand, Dr. Eric Mueller, professor and director of equine programs at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, reports that 25-30% of horses admitted to the university clinic for colic require surgery while the rest are treated with medical therapy.

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