Colitis

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Colitis

Colitis-X

Colitis is an acute, highly fatal disease associated with an inflammation of the horse's colon. Colitis is a serious disease for horses, due to the large size of their colon. Two of the major infectious agents involved with the development of colitis are Clostridium difficile and Salmonella. C. perfringens is also thought to play a role since it is frequently found in the large intestine of horses with colitis, however its specific involvement is unknown.

There are a number of different causes associated with the development of colitis, which include both infectious and noninfectious involvement. Noninfectious causes include parasites, the use of NSAIDs and antimicrobials, consumption of blister beetles in alfalfa hay, or consumption of various types of poisonous plants. Some plants frequently recognized as cause of colitis include acorn and young oak leaves, oleander, buttercups, nightshades, rhododendron and azaleas, pokeweed, and castor bean.

Symptoms

Fever
Rapid breathing
Colic
Elevated respiratory rate
Rapid heart rate
Lethargy
Severe diarrhea
Extreme dehydration
Shock
Sudden death

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Surgery

Treatment


TreatmentDetails
Large volumes of intravenous fluids are needed to treat the severe dehydration
High doses of corticosteroid
Electrolytes (salt) replacement

Prevention

  • Ensure pastures are free of toxic plants
  • Be care about who you purchase alfalfa hay from
  • Regularly deworm horses according to your veterinarian's recommendations.

Prognosis

Poor, almost always fatal

Scientific Research References

Good Overviews