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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • radiograph;
  • abdomen;
  • sand colic;
  • diarrhoea;
  • enteropathy

Summary

This retrospective study consisted of 14 horses (age 6 weeks–12 years) with radiographically evident sand accumulations cranioventrally in the abdomen and clinical signs suggestive of sand enteropathy. The horses were treated medically and resolution of sand was monitored radiographically. Routine treatment consisted of psyllium mucilloid, combined with magnesium sulphate and/or mineral oilif needed. Initially, the number, size and shape of the sand accumulations showed large variation and the response to therapy was not predictable based on the initial appearance of the accumulation. In 2 foals, some of the sand was passed and the rest was mixed with other intestinal contents within 2–4 days. Even large accumulations disappeared in 2–4 days with psyllium alone or combined with mineral oil in 4 horses. In another 4 horses, the size of the accumulations decreased but varying amounts remained approximately at the same site, despite treatment for 1–4 weeks, and all these horses also had either gastric or large colon impaction. Three horses had a limited response to psyllium treatment, but the accumulation resolved with repeated doses of magnesium sulphate, with or without mineral oil. One horse did not respond to prolonged laxative treatment but the accumulation resolved on pasture. Clinical improvement was not necessarily related to the resolution of sand. Radiography of the cranioventral abdomen was found to be a useful means for monitoring the resolution of sand and confirming the effect of medical treatment in removing sand from the large colon in the horse.