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Occurrence, treatment protocols, and outcomes of colic in horses within Nairobi County, Kenya

Anderson Gitari, James Nguhiu, Vijay Varma and Eddy Mogoa : Department of Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,

College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.

Received: 16-05-2017, Accepted: 15-09-2017, Published online: 23-10-2017 doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2017.1255-1263

How to cite this article: Gitari A, Nguhiu J, Varma V, Mogoa E (2017) Occurrence, treatment protocols, and outcomes of colic in horses within Nairobi County, Kenya, Veterinary World, 10(10): 1255-1263.

Abstract Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the treatments and their outcomes in horses with colic in Nairobi County, Kenya.

Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective study to determine the occurrence, treatments, pain management, and outcomes of colic in horses in Nairobi County. Association between pain management protocols and the outcomes of colic with regard to recovery or death was also determined. Data collected from four equine practitioners were organized manually and given numerical codes as appropriate to facilitate entry into the computer. The coded data were entered into Microsoft Excel 2010 and exported to StatPlus pro 5.9.8 statistical package for analysis. Simple association tests were done between various factors and occurrence of colic.

Results: The incidence of colic for the 11 years was 3.1%, which constituted 68.0% spasmodic colic, 27.8% impaction colic, and 4.2% displacement colic. Flunixin meglumine as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) was used as the only pain management treatment in 85.3% of the cases, flunixin meglumine and butorphanol as NSAID-OPIOD combination in 6.4% of the cases, while buscopan as an antispasmodic was recorded in 5.9% of the cases mainly in spasmodic colic. Univariate analysis revealed simple association between various factors and the type of colic a horse was having. There was an association between the type of colic and the decision-making on the pain management protocol to use, whether single analgesic protocol (χ2 =22.5, p<0.001) or use of analgesic combinations (χ2 =18.3, p<0.001). The type of colic strongly influenced the decision for performing nasogastric intubation (χ2 =265, p<0.001), but performing nasogastric intubation was weakly (χ2 =4.9, p=0.03) associated with horse recovery from colic. Type of colic also strongly influenced the need for the use of metabolic stimulants, particularly vitamin B-complex (χ2 =99.3, p<0.001). Recovery or death of the horse from colic was strongly associated with the type of colic (χ2 =250, p<0.001). The possibility of recurrence of colic was weakly (χ2 =4.6, p=0.04) determined by the type of colic, a horse had. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that the main cause of death was intestinal displacement and the majority of the horses with intestinal displacement died (β-estimate 2.7, odds ratio=0.07, p=0.007) compared to horses that had impaction colic.

Conclusion: The incidence of colic is 3.1%, and the most common type of colic is spasmodic followed by impaction. The most common pain management protocol for colic is NSAIDs, mainly flunixin meglumine, followed by flunixinbutorphanol combination. Surgery for horses with colic in Nairobi County is not commonly done due to impeding poor prognoses. The horse owners tend to prefer euthanasia for such cases.

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