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Abdominal Auscultation in the Detection of Experimentally Induced Gastrointestinal Sand Accumulation



A blind study was designed to determine if abdominal auscultation is an effective method for detecting the presence of intestinal sand. Fifteen horses divided into two groups were used in the study. There were seven horses in Group 1 and eight horses in Group 2. All horses were auscultated and determined to be free of sand sounds before initiation of Trial 1. Group 1 horses were given 4.2 g/kg body weight of sand via nasogastric tube using carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) as a suspending agent at 9.0 ml/kg body weight. Group 2 horses were given CMC only. Horses remained in the same group through all trials. A total of five trials, each lasting 24 hours, was performed. Dosing with sand and CMC or CMC alone was repeated at the beginning of each trial. Abdominal auscultation was performed on each of the 15 horses beginning on Trial 2 by an investigator with no knowledge of the grouping of the horses. The ventral abdomen was auscultated for 5 minutes at 7 hours and 17 hours after trial initiation. When a horse was considered positive for intestinal sand by auscultation, the horse was eliminated from future trials. On Trial 2, no horses were positive; on Trial 3, one horse; on Trial 4, two horses, and on Trial 5, four horses. Sounds considered characteristic for sand in the intestinal tract were eventually identified in all Group 1 horses. No horses in Group 2 were ever identified as having sounds characteristic for intestinal sand at any point during this investigation. (Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1989; 3:12–14)