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Successful treatment of prolonged postoperative ileus following resection of a small intestinal spindle cell sarcoma in a horse
  1. Janny de Grauw and
  2. Thijs van Loon
  1. Department of Equine Sciences, Utrecht University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Janny de Grauw; j.c.degrauw{at}


This case report details the unusual clinical course of a horse that had been hospitalised for recurrent colic prior to an acute colic episode requiring emergency laparotomy. Within the first 24 hours after surgery, the horse developed severe colic and postoperative ileus (POI) requiring repeat laparotomy. The horse suffered persistent ileus with copious reflux for 8 days thereafter, but its clinical condition permitted continued treatment. It was discharged after 4 weeks and returned to its previous performance level. The authors describe clinical decision-making regarding intravenous fluid therapy, prokinetic drug administration, enteral and parenteral nutrition, and institution of physical exercise in the treatment of persistent POI. Economic and welfare considerations allowing, equine POI may resolve even in protracted cases. Patients may benefit from strategies aimed at early enteral feeding and ambulation as have emerged in human POI management.

  • horses
  • critical care
  • colic
  • ileus
  • rehabilitation
  • fluid therapy
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  • Contributors JdG and TvL contributed to clinical management of the case. JdG drafted the manuscript, TvL critically reviewed it. Both authors approve of the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Consent for publication of this case report was obtained from the patient's owner prior to manuscript preparation and submission.

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

  • Data availability statement No additional data are available.

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