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Testing a New Tool for Evaluating Colic Patients

Colic caused by displacement or strangulation of the large colon is a significant cause of pain and death in horses. Horses often need emergency colic surgery, during which time the surgeon must decide whether the colon is viable or is so severely damaged that it must be removed. Current assessment methods are subjective, time-consuming, inaccurate or impractical. Researchers are investigating the use of a handheld, dark-field microscope, called the Microscan, which will allow them to evaluate the small vessel flow through the colon by simply applying the microscope to the surface of the colon and watching blood cells flow through the small vessels. If effective, Microscan would give equine colic surgeons a novel tool indetermining the most appropriate treatment plan for their equine patients at the time of surgery.

Dr. Sam Hurcombe, Ohio State University, Pilot Study, D10EQ-805A