Could the horse breed predict colic risk? – Horse
“The clinical impression suggests that certain gastrointestinal lesions are more common in certain types of horses,” said Bettina Dunkel, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, ECEIM, ACVECC, FHEA, MRCVS, Senior Lecturer in Equine Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, UK.
Recently, she and her colleagues undertook a research project to explore the link between race and gastrointestinal injury. They reviewed the medical records of 575 horses diagnosed with various gastrointestinal injuries. Horses included in the study were classified into miniature type (standing less than 11 hands), pony (taller than 11 hands, but shorter than 14.2 hands), Arabian, light breed (mostly thoroughbred and warmblood) or line type.
The team found that:
- Miniatures were the most likely to have colon impactions and colitis (inflammation of the large colon, often associated with diarrhea). They rarely suffered from strangling lesions of the small intestine.
- Ponies, on the other hand, seemed predisposed to strangling lesions in the small intestine, usually involving a lipoma (fatty tumor). “The fact that miniature horses rarely have strangling small intestine lesions due to lipomas, whereas ponies very often have them was surprising,” said Dunkel.
- Light breeds were most at risk for large colon displacements, either right dorsal or left dorsal. “We suspect that the high frequency of travel is due to the shape of the abdomen and the size of the horse,” she said. “The bigger the horse, the more frequent the trips. “
- Work horses were most often diagnosed with diseases of the large intestine (such as large colon displacements and volvulus or more severe torsion of the colon) and diseases affecting the cecum.
Dunkel cautioned that studies like this only describe the odds of a certain injury occurring and that each case should be considered individually: “Even though a certain injury is rare in a certain type of horse or pony, it can still happen and should not be missed. “
The study, “Differences in gastrointestinal lesions in different types of horses”, was published in the Veterinary record.