The records of 496 orthopaedic operations on 428 horses were reviewed to estimate the prevalence of, and identify the risk factors for, the development of colic in horses after surgery. Colic was defined as any recognised sign of abdominal pain that could not be attributed to a concurrent disease. Fourteen of the horses developed colic; eight of them were undiagnosed, three were classified as impactions, one as tympanic colic of the colon, one as incarceration of the small intestine in the epiploic foramen, and one as left dorsal displacement of the colon in the nephrosplenic space. Morphine was associated with a four-fold increased risk of colic compared with the use of no opioid or butorphanol, and out-of-hours surgery was also associated with an increased risk.
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