• horse;
  • epiploic foramen;
  • lipoma;
  • strangulation;
  • small intestine


Reasons for performing study: Epiploic foramen entrapment (EFE) is one of the more common causes of colic in horses, but recent reports suggest a poor prognosis after surgical treatment.

Hypothesis: That EFE has a good prognosis compared with other small intestinal strangulating lesions.

Methods: Surgical findings, surgical procedures and short-term outcome were recorded for 157 horses that underwent surgery for strangulating lesions of the small intestine at the University of Illinois from 1994 to 2003. Horses were assigned to 3 groups for comparison; those with EFE, strangulation by lipoma and miscellaneous strangulating lesions. A logistic regression model and Monte Carlo tests of the binomial proportions were used to examine survival rates. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine differences in usage of surgical treatments. Measurements of length and viability indices were analysed using a one-way analysis of variance followed by Tukey's HSD test, and viability scores were analysed using an exact Kruskal-Wallis test. Significance was set at P<0.05.

Results: Horses with EFE were significantly more likely to be discharged (95%) than those with the other conditions (P<0.05). The proportion of horses with ileal involvement was greater in horses with EFE than in the other 2 groups (P<0.05), although this did not affect outcome. The distributions of viability grades for EFE and lipoma differed significantly (P<0.05).

Conclusions: The prognosis for horses that had surgery at this hospital for EFE was better than for those with the other conditions, although the greater proportion of horses with EFE with ileal involvement could influence outcome. Therefore, surgeons must consider ways of improving jejunocaecostomy and determining when bowel is viable, the latter to avoid jejunocaecostomy.