The Andys Veterinary Hospital

Hematological and Biochemical Changes in Horses


This was a prospective study, which involved following up cases of colic and from which blood samples for haematology and serum for biochemical analysis were collected. The haematological parameters measured were total erythrocyte count (TEC), haemoglobin concentration (Hb), Haematocrit (hct), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentartion (MCHC), red blood cell distribution width (RDW), platelet count, Total leucocyte count (TLC) and leucocyte differential count. The biochemical parameters measured were alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), total proteins, serum albumin, serum globulin, blood glucose and serum lactate. The data obtained from the reported cases of colic was then imported into StatPlus pro 5.9.8 statistical package and means±SD were calculated and student t-test was then used to compare the means from horses that had impaction colic with those that had spasmodic colic as well as the means of those horses that recovered with those of the horses that died. The level of significance was at P<0.05.

Mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) was significantly higher (p=0.03) in horses with spasmodic colic (16.8±1.3 pg) than in those with impaction colic (15.6±1.2 pg). The mean leucocyte count (109/L) was significantly higher (p=0.02) in horses with impaction colic (12.9±5.9) than in those with spasmodic colic (9.0±1.5). Similarly, mean neutrophil count (109/L) was significantly higher (p=0.02) in horses with impaction colic (9.1±5.6) than in those with spasmodic colic (5.4±1.7). The mean values of blood glucose were significantly higher (p=0.02) in horses with impaction colic (5.7±2.0 mmol/l) than in those with spasmodic colic (3.7±1.4 mmol/l). The blood biochemical parameters that were significantly lower in horses that died than those that survived were total protein (P =0.002), albumin (P<0.01) and globulin (P=0.04). Apart from Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and slight leucocyte and neutrophil changes, there were no major significant haematological changes in horses with colic. Total blood proteins including albumin and globulin levels could serve as possible guides to prognosis of colic in horses. The general prognosis of spasmodic colic in horses was good, but fair to poor for impaction.

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