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Keywords:

  • antimicrobial therapy;
  • colic;
  • equine;
  • intestinal surgery

Abstract

Objective

To document whether presumptive bacterial translocation (PBT) occurs in horses with small intestinal strangulation (SIS).

Design

Prospective clinical cohort study.

Setting

University tertiary care facility.

Animals

Thirty-six adult horses with SIS (clinical cases) and 10 adult horses without gastrointestinal disease (control cases).

Interventions

Sterile collection and bacterial culture of samples from peripheral venous blood, mesenteric venous blood, mesenteric lymphatic tissue, and intestinal aspirates from horses with SIS and control horses without gastrointestinal disease.

Measurements and Main Results

Five of 36 (13.8%) horses with SIS had at least 1 sample yield a positive result. Shorter SIS bowel segments were more likely to yield a positive culture result. (P < 0.01). Two of 10 of control horses had positive culture results with different bacterial species identified compared to horses with SIS. Antimicrobial usage did not influence bacterial culture status (P = 0.31). There were no differences between culture-positive and culture-negative horses with SIS regarding admission, clinical, or clinicopathologic variables.

Conclusions

PBT occurs in normal horses and in horses with SIS. Bacterial genera differed between groups. A low incidence of PBT occurs in horses with SIS suggesting postoperative morbidity in some cases may be due to other factors.