Vascular Injury Associated with Naturally Occurring Strangulating Obstructions of the Equine Large Colon


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


Ten horses were euthanatized before, during, or after surgery to correct severe volvulus of the large colon. At surgery, the colonic serosa changed from blue-gray, blue or purple toward a more normal pink in seven horses after the volvulus was corrected. The mucosa consistently remained black or dark red. Results of postmortem colonic microangiography revealed perfusion of the serosa and the circular and longitudinal muscle layers, but mucosal perfusion was limited by thrombosis in the muscularis mucosae and submucosa. There was evidence of thrombosis of the mesenteric colic vessels in six horses. Damage to the colonic vascular system, especially thromboembolism in the submucosa, may be an important limitation to colonic viability after surgical correction of volvulus of the large colon.