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Initial Treatment and Diagnosis of Colitis in Horses
  by Robert N. Oglesby DVM

Introduction

Introduction » Clinical Signs and Evaluation » Initial Treatment for Moderate to Severe Diarrhea » Differential Causes » Summary » More Info 

Diarrhea is a common symptom in the horse that can be caused by a number of different factors. Many diarrheas are caused by noninfectious or noninflammatory reasons and these horses have a change in their stools but continue to eat, drink, act normal and have no fever, ...more. The list of differentials in foals with colitis is a bit different as is the treatment so it is covered in a separate topic, ...more

This article concerns itself with adult horses that have an acute onset of severe diarrhea and act sick. Note this can be an emergency situration as shock may be developing and you should call your veterinarian now. Systemic illness and diarrhea and most often caused by inflammation of the large bowel and called colitis. Colitis can be caused by infections or toxins, usually acting as a chemical irritant. The result is diarrhea which may be accompanied by fever, depression, colic, and if severe shock and death.

Usually it is recommended to diagnose a disease before you begin treatement but severe colitis does not give you the time for an exact diagnosis. Shock and/or founder may be rapidly developing. This article discusses the initial evaluation to determine severity and emergency treatment to ward off the possible life threatening complications. Also discussed are the causes of the serious complications and then goes over the various differential diagnosis and important diagnostic steps. Links to articles on the specific complications and diseases are provided as are summaries of the most current research and veterinary papers published.
      ~Word Count: 2392 words (The average magazine page contains about 600 words);
      ~Last Updated: April 17, 2011;

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Discussions on Initial Evaluation of Colitis in Horses
  Titles Subtopics Posts Updated
iconColitis, foaling and now elevated liver enzymesMay 31, 11
iconPost colitis treatmentFeb 26, 11
iconMare Died of Colitis/ Any preventitive measures for other horses?16 Jun 6, 10
iconMedication precautions32 Nov 11, 09
iconColitis: are my other horses at risk?27 Aug 31, 07
iconLost mare within 16 hours - Severe Diarrhea Colitis127 Dec 1, 08
iconNew Article on Initial Evaluation of Colitis Jan 22, 05
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