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Differences in gastrointestinal lesions in different horse types
  1. Bettina Dunkel,
  2. Alexandra Buonpane and
  3. Yu-Mei Chang
  1. Department of Clinical Science and Services and Research Support Office, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence; bdunkel{at}


Clinical impression suggests that some gastrointestinal lesions are more common in certain horse types. The study tested the hypothesis that relative prevalence of acute gastrointestinal lesions differs between equid types. In a retrospective case–control study, records (2010–2015) were reviewed for equids with acute gastrointestinal disease. Signalment, details of gastrointestinal lesions and diagnoses were recorded. Animals were categorised as miniature type, pony, Arabian, light breed or draft type. Exclusion criteria were no recorded breed/size/diagnosis, age less than one year and donkeys. Using binary logistic regression the influence of type, sex and age on lesion location, nature and diagnoses were investigated. 575 animals (33 miniature types, 136 ponies, 335 light breed types, 17 Arabians and 54 draft types) were included. Using light breed types as reference, ponies (including miniatures) had decreased odds of colon displacements (OR 0.11; 95 per cent CI 0.05 to 0.24; P<0.001) and ponies alone had increased odds of strangulation of the small intestine by lipomas (OR 2.3; 95 per cent CI 1.3 to 4.1; P=0.004). Miniature types had decreased odds of strangulating small intestinal lesions (OR 0.1; 95 per cent CI 0.01 to 0.83; P=0.033) and draft types had increased odds of caecal conditions (OR 9.0; 95 per cent CI 2.3 to 34.8; P<0.001). In conclusion, equid type influences development of gastrointestinal lesions.

  • Abdominal
  • Colic
  • Colitis
  • Pony
  • Lipoma
  • Displacement

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained on hospital admission form

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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