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Indicators of ‘critical’ outcomes in 941 horses seen ‘out-of-hours’ for colic
  1. Adelle Bowden1,
  2. Gary C W England1,
  3. Marnie Louise Brennan2,
  4. Tim S Mair3,
  5. Wendy A Furness4,
  6. Sarah L Freeman1 and
  7. John H Burford1
  1. 1School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, UK
  2. 2Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, UK
  3. 3The Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic, Maidstone, UK
  4. 4Scarsdale Equine Practice, Derby, Derbyshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adelle Bowden; Adelle.Bowden{at}nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

Background This study aimed to describe the presentation and outcomes of horses with signs of colic (abdominal pain) seen ‘out-of-hours’ in equine practice.

Methods This was a retrospective study of horses seen ‘out-of-hours’ with colic by two equine veterinary practices between 2011 and 2013. Case outcomes were categorised as ‘critical’ or ‘not critical’. A critical outcome was defined as requiring medical or surgical hospital treatment, or resulting in euthanasia or death. A non-critical outcome was defined as resolving with simple medical treatment. A hierarchical generalised linear model was used to identify ‘red flag’ parameters (aspects of signalment, history and presenting clinical signs) associated with critical outcomes.

Results Data were retrieved from 941 cases that presented with colic; 23.9 per cent (n=225/941) were critical. Variables significantly associated with the likelihood of a critical outcome in the final multivariable model were increased heart rate (P<0.001), age of the horse (P=0.013) and abnormal mucous membrane colour (P<0.001). Overall 18 per cent (n=168/941) of cases were euthanased.

Conclusions This study highlights the mortality associated with colic. The ‘red flag’ parameters identified should be considered an essential component of the primary assessment of horses with colic.

  • abdominal
  • colic
  • horses
  • out of hours
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Footnotes

  • Funding AB's studentship was funded by the University of Nottingham.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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