Seasonal pattern found in emerging cause of colic

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The typical appearance of an idiopathic focal eosinophilic enteritis lesion in a horse. The lesion spans all or part of the circumference of the small intestine. The tissues are markedly thickened at the site of the lesion and most commonly there is obstruction of the bowel. Photo: PLoS ONE
The typical appearance of an idiopathic focal eosinophilic enteritis lesion in a horse. The lesion spans all or part of the circumference of the small intestine. The tissues are markedly thickened at the site of the lesion and most commonly there is obstruction of the bowel. Photo: PLoS ONE

Researchers in Britain have identified a seasonal pattern to an emerging cause of colic in horses known as idiopathic focal eosinophilic enteritis (IFEE).

The condition frequently requires surgical intervention to prevent death. The causes are poorly understood and it is difficult to diagnose pre-operatively.

It involves obstruction of the small intestine, involving a visibly striking circle of  thickened tissue around the circumference of the affected portion of the gut.

What measures may be necessary to prevent the condition developing are currently unknown.

The researchers, whose findings have been published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, investigated 85 IFEE cases and 848 randomly selected controls admitted to a British equine hospital for exploratory laparotomy to investigate the cause of colic over a 10-year period.

They found that the relative risk of IFEE increased over the study period. They also found a seasonal pattern, noting that the greatest risk of IFEE being identified was between July and November.

The IFEE risk decreased as horses aged, they found, with those aged under 5 at greatest risk.

Researcher Debra Archer, from the University of Liverpool, was joined in the study by Deborah Costain and Chris Sherlock, from Lancaster University.

Archer DC, Costain DA, Sherlock C (2014) Idiopathic Focal Eosinophilic Enteritis (IFEE), an Emerging Cause of Abdominal Pain in Horses: The Effect of Age, Time and Geographical Location on Risk. PLoS ONE 9(12): e112072. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112072
The full study can be read here.

 

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