A horse can carry or more smaller enteroliths in his gut, or he may develop only one or two large ones. Often, the small ones pass. Enteroliths are one of the leading causes of severe colic in the state of California. The word enterolith is derived from the Greek terms “entero”. Enteroliths are mineralized concretions of magnesium ammonium phosphate ( struvite) that develop in the right dorsal colon of the horse.

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Abdominal radiography may be useful in many horses and is ideally performed after fasting for 24 hours. Hose this time, supportive fluids with electrolytes and sugars are often administered intravenously.

The fecalith is made up of actual fecal matter rather than accumulations of crystals in the intestine. The largest one I have seen was the size of a basketball. Symptoms of Enterolithiasis in Horses.

Therefore, horses with small enteroliths may or may not exhibit colic signs. In most cases, enteroliths that have expanded to the point that they are obstructing the digestion will have to be removed surgically.

This page was last modified on 6 Julyat enerolith Enteroliths are a very important cause of colic in California and several other states. Although enteroliths have been found in foals less than a year old, they are more common in animals over the age of Enteroliths are seen as sperical, homogeneously opaque bodies within the intestinal lumen.


Journal of the Entreolith Veterinary Medical Association. However, enteroliths which have moved into the small colon have a somewhat worse prognosis for surgical correction than their large colon counterparts. In areas where this is a common problem, veterinarians suspect enteroliths if a horse has frequent colic episodes.


Enteroliths take approximately 2 years to form a sufficient size to cause an obstruction.

Bowel obstruction and ileus typically occur when a horae enterolith is expelled from a diverticulum into the lumen.

The feed for the first 30 days post-surgery should include higher amounts of protein and phosphorus than normal, with decreased amounts of structural fiber. It is more helpful for detecting enteroliths in the large colon and is generally most successful in small horses or ponies. Scattered diagnoses have been reported throughout America, particularly California and Florida.

While no one knows exactly why a particular horse develops intestinal stones, three factors seem to be associated with an increased risk. Development Upload file Commons. Horse in which severe cardiovascular compromise has occurred also have a poorer prognosis.

Enteroliths in Horses

Navigation menu Personal tools The enrerolith is evacuated via a colotomy at the pelvic flexure, after which the enterolith is gently manipulated to the incision site and removed. A Rock and a Hard Place.

They sometimes can be visualized on CT scans without contrast; presence of contrast in the lumen may reveal the enterolith as a void. Cresty Necks and Laminitis: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Retrieved from ” https: However, histories of many horses admitted to clinics for enterolith surgery have shown significant dietary changes in the previous weeks, suggesting that such alterations may have caused the stones to shift and create a blockage. It is not uncommon for enterolithiasis to go undiagnosed until exploratory surgery is able to help uncover the cause of the obstruction. Dietary – A high pH diet has been linked to the formation of enteroliths, as is a diet lower in dry matter and diets high in minerals; alfalfa is high in calcium and protein, and diets that contain a high ratio of alfalfa create ideal conditions for enteroliths to form Exercise levels – Horses that are given a chance to exercise daily are less likely to develop stones than sedentary equines Gender – Females are more likely to develop this disorder than males Genetic predisposition – Arabian and Arabian crossbreeds are over-represented, as are Morgans, American Saddlebreds, donkeys, and miniature breeds; horses with siblings that develop enteroliths are more likely to develop enteroliths themselves.


Horses are usually fasted for twenty-four hours prior to surgery, and another twelve to twenty-four hours of fasting may be required after surgery to prevent the distention of any healing tissues.

In simple cases of obstruction, where there are no complications, a variety of non-surgical and surgical techniques are used to remove the enterolith.

Enterolithiasis in Horses – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. This page was last edited on 10 Septemberat Diagnosis of Enterolithiasis in Horses. Another is encouraging gut movement by increasing exercise and grazing time for horses that have been kept in the stall.