Large colon resection and anastomosis in horses: 52 cases (1996–2006)


Chino Valley Equine Hospital, 2945 English Place, Chino Hills, California 917109, USA.


Reasons for performing study: Large colon resection and anastomosis (LCRA) is the most aggressive method of surgical management of a colon with questionable viability. Currently, published studies are comprised mostly of broodmares and discuss short-term survival.

Objectives: To determine the prognosis for survival after LCRA in a diverse population of horses, report the incidence of post operative complications, and determine if associations between analysed variables and survival rate exist.

Methods: The medical records of 52 horses that underwent LCRA were evaluated. Data were used to identify univariable associations with survival as well as complications related to LCRA. Chi-square, odds ratio with 95% confidence interval, Mann-Whitney or Kruskal-Wallis tests were used, with significance set at P<0.05.

Results: Forty-four horses (84.6%) survived anaesthesia and recovery, 30 (57.7%) survived to be discharged from the hospital. Of the variables analysed, heart rate 24 h after recovery was significantly associated with mortality, as were endotoxaemia, ileus and peritonitis experienced post operatively.

Conclusions: Heart rate 24 h after recovery may be a more reliable prognostic indicator than other analysed variables. Survival rate and complications after LCRA were similar to those previously reported.

Potential relevance: By reporting on LCRA in a diverse group of horses, referral clinics with similar populations may have a better understanding of prognosis and complications associated with the procedure. When a colon with questionable viability is removed, waiting until 24 h after recovery may be advised to allow for a more informed decision regarding prognosis.