A horse can carry or more smaller enteroliths in his gut, or he may develop only one or two large ones. Often, the small ones pass. Enteroliths are one of the leading causes of severe colic in the state of California. The word enterolith is derived from the Greek terms “entero”. Enteroliths are mineralized concretions of magnesium ammonium phosphate ( struvite) that develop in the right dorsal colon of the horse.

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Steinbeck Country Equine Clinic | Enteroliths: A Rock and a Hard Place

Clinical signs in these horses may be non-specific including weight loss, anorexia, changes in demeanour and lethargy. A third is preventing ingestion of foreign objects by cleaning up pastures and turnout paddocks.

Rare diseases Gastrointestinal tract disorders. Enteroliths too large to pass in the manure must be removed surgically. Horses with a partial obstruction of the etnerolith dorsal or transverse colon may display signs of chronic or recurrent colic, sometimes occurring over a period of weeks up to a year.

Most human enteroliths are radiolucent on plain X-rays. Scattered diagnoses have been reported throughout America, particularly California and Florida. Retrieved from ” https: The relative hypomotility of the right dorsal colon is also thought to have hors role in enterolith formation. Alfalfa should preferably be eliminated from the diet.

Ultimately large stones lodge in the gut, frequently where the intestine narrows at the pelvic flexure or right dorsal colon, and the gut wall begins to necrotize from abrasion and pressure. Most enteroliths are not apparent and cause no complications. Perforation typically occurs within the diverticulum. Rectal hlrse rarely leads to the identification of an enterolith but may reveal distension of the large colon and tight mesenteric bands.



This page enterlith last modified on 6 Julyat An enterolith formed in a Meckel’s diverticulum enteroliht is known as a Meckel’s enterolith. In humansenteroliths are rare and may be difficult to distinguish from gall stones. In many enrerolith, radiography x-ray of the abdominal cavity after a twenty-four hour fast is useful for locating where the blockage is lodged.

Stall bedding choice may also play a role. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Other clinical signs such as tachycardia, tachypnoea, prolonged capillary refill time and bilateral abdominal tympany are frequently observed. Small enteroliths may not cause any symptoms as they pass through the digestive tract but larger enteroliths interfere with the digestive process and result in symptoms such as:.

Although enteroliths have been found in foals less than a year old, they are more common in animals over the age of Small enteroliths are generally passed in the manure, however, large enteroliths can get caught in the intestine and impair the passage of the contents of the gut and may ultimately get trapped in the digestive system, and the pressure and abrasion from the stone may cause the tissues to necrotize.

The amount of alfalfa and wheat bran in the diet should be reduced and offering ample opportunity for turn out will add valuable roughage from grazing. Almost every year, the most common cause of emergency abdominal surgery in California is stone removal.

Anecdotal reports suggest that cider vinegar added in to hard feed may help to prevent the formation of enteroliths. Views Read View source View history.

Counter-intuitively, the worst form of the disease is not the largest stones. Treatment of Enterolithiasis in Horses. In simple cases of obstruction, where there are no complications, a variety of non-surgical and surgical techniques are used to remove the enterolith.


A horse may have one or more enteroliths ranging in diameter from pea-sized to softball-sized or larger. Management history can also identify horses that seem to be uorse.

Enteroliths in horses–a retrospective study of 30 cases.

A Rock and a Hard Place. Signs indicative of mild abdominal discomfort may also be present such as pawing, flank-watching, kicking or resentment of a girth. Stall-kept horses on limited amounts of easily digested hay and grain may develop stones because there is less dietary residue in the gut, and this factor coupled with a lack of exercise leads to longer transit time for intestinal contents.

The classic presentation for a horse with an enterolith in many practices would be a 10 year old Arabian horse fed predominantly alfalfa hay with a history of multiple colic enteolith. If the integrity of the colonic wall has been compromised, signs reflecting endotoxaemia may develop.

Enterolithiasis in Horses – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Brown Recluse Spider Bite. When you cut an enterolith in half, you can frequently visualize hprse central body with rings of mineral deposits around it resembling rings in a tree trunk Figure 2. Unless the stone is removed, the intestine eventually ruptures and the horse develops fatal peritonitis. Some theories link phosphorus-rich wheat bran, water with a high content of dissolved minerals, or iron-laden feeds to enterolith formation.

The largest one I have seen was the size of a basketball. Treatment for all large obstructions is removal via surgical laparotomy coeliotomy. Recovery of Enterolithiasis in Horses. They have also been reported in zebras: