Survival after Small Intestine Resection and Anastomosis in Horses


  • Presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, 1989, and at the Third Colic Research Symposium, 1988.

Department of Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.


The authors examined factors influencing survival in 140 horses that recovered from anesthesia after small intestinal resection between 1968 and 1986, using Kaplan-Meier estimated survival curves and the Cox proportional hazards regression model. Seventy-two horses (51%) died during the initial postoperative period, 19 horses (14%) died after discharge from the hospital, 33 horses (24%) were alive, and 16 horses (11%) were classified as censored. Mean age at surgery was 8 years. Horses 15 years of age or older, Arabians and Stallions, were overrepresented in the hospital population. The most common reason for resection was strangulation of bowel through a mesenteric rent. The mean and 50% median survival times were 1540 and 27 days, respectively. Horses admitted after January 1, 1980, had a significantly longer survival than those admitted before that time. Survival was longer after anastomosis of two small intestinal segments than after anastomosis of a small intestinal segment to the cecum; however, the length of bowel resected and the method of anastomosis had no demonstrable influence on survival. Of the variables studied, the heart rates at presentation and 24 hours after surgery were the most accurate predictors of survival.