Tessa is a 10 year old Paso Fino mare owned by Katherine Bragdon of Mobile, AL and treated by Dr. Patrick First. Tessa had a history of colic signs including lying down, rolling, sweating, as well as diarrhea. Upon arrival to the farm Tessa was very painful and unable to stand. A full colic exam was performed including: listening to the GI tract, checking hydration status, assessing heart rate, rectal palpation, and passing a nasogastric tube. Bloodwork showed mild dehydration (PCV=47.) She was found to have an elevated heart rate, and temperature at the high end of normal, hypermotile gut sounds, and found to be 6% dehydrated. Rectal palpation confirmed the abundant liquid feces. No sand was noted on fecal sedimentation. A diagnosis of colitis was made based on these diagnostics.
What is colitis?
Colitis is defined as inflammation of the large bowel and has the potential to cause massive fluid losses very rapidly. Acute colitis can be caused by a variety of agents including: viral, bacterial, parasitism, NSAIDS, antibiotics, feed changes, sand, and stress. Horses with colitis will be depressed, febrile, inappetent, and show mild colic signs as well as have large quantities of diarrhea. The inflammation in the colon can cause a die off of certain bacteria that release endotoxins into the horses blood supply. This endotoxin causes the gums to become red and injected and can lead to laminitis.
Tessa was given a large bolus of oral fluids through nasogastric tube. She was started on Banamine (NSAID to combat fever and endotoxemia), Biosponge (GI Toxin absorber), and Probios (Probiotic to help repopulate the shift in microbial flora), and Metronidazole (antibiotic.) She improved slowly over the course of 4 days. At first being inappetent and dull and gradually being able to eat more with her stool gaining consistency day by day. Today Tessa is happy and healthy due to her diligent owner that sought immediate help.