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Summary

The incidence and nature of coagulation abnormalities in horses presented with colic and the possible prognostic value of these abnormalities was investigated. A coagulogram was performed on each of 24 adult Thoroughbred or Standardbred horses. A coagulogram consisted of measurements of eight parameters; platelet count, plasma fibrinogen, plasma antithrombin III (AT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), prothrombin time (PT), thrombin clotting time (TCT), soluble fibrin monomer (SFM) and fibrin-fibrinogen degradation products (FDP). Retrospective determination of the cause of the colic and outcome (survival vs non-survival) was carried out. All patients examined had at least one abnormal parameter with the frequency being: Increased SFM 67 per cent; prolonged PTT 63 per cent; prolonged TCT 50 per cent; elevated plasma fibrinogen 46 per cent; reduced platelet count 29 per cent; reduced plasma AT 29 per cent; prolonged PT 25 per cent; and elevated serum FDP 21 per cent. When survivor and non-survivor groups were compared there was little difference in the frequency of abnormalities such as elevated SFM, elevated fibrinogen and prolonged PTT. The abnormalities which had the greatest frequency difference between non-survivors and survivors, and therefore the greatest prognostic value, were decreased AT > prolonged TCT = prolonged PT > elevated FDP > reduced platelet count. The frequency of these abnormalities in non-survivors compared to survivors was 8.6:1, 7.1:1, 5.7:1 and 3.6:1, respectively. The average number of abnormal parameters in non-survivors (five) was significantly greater than in survivors (two).