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AT İSTANBULVeterinary Clinic

Alimentary System Examination

Horses have quite a long alimentary tract. This tract starts from the mouth cavity and is about 37 meters long. Despite this long alimentary tract, horses happen to have the smallest stomachs among all herbivores. Also, due to the special structure of the stomach inlet, horses cannot vomit. Intestines consist the majority of the alimentary tract with the small intestines being about 22 meters long. In some parts, the large intestines narrow and broaden. There are also sharp curves about 180 degrees that can lead to congestion due to clogging of undigested food. Therefore, horses frequently encounter digestive problems; with colic being the most common of these problems. Actually, colic itself is not an illness, it is only a symptom. There are many conditions that cause colic. As mentioned above, many cases such as particles congesting the intestines, parasites, the intertwining and entangling intestines lead to colic in horses. The rate of death resulting from these problems is high.

Colic is definitely a case of emergency and the veterinary surgeon has to be called as quickly as possible. The later the first intervention, the less the chance to survive. The primary questions that the veterinary surgeon will ask are regarding the last time of defecation and urination, changes in the amount and the type of the food given. Information regarding pregnancy in the mares can also determine the course of examination.

During the examination of a horse suffering from colic, the first steps are to assess the general state of the horse by measuring the pulse rate, respiratory rate and body temperature and then to auscultate the abdomen in order to evaluate the bowel movements. Also, the transrectal examination and intubation of the stomach are important parts of the digestive tract examination.

Sindirim Sistemi Muayenesi


Auscultation of bowel sounds

via stethoscope

It is possible to prevent many digestive tract problems by improving the nutrition of the horse. It is the duty of every horse owner to know about what to take into account while feeding a horse and which malpractices may lead to problems. To this end, you may attend educational seminars organized specifically for horse owners.

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