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Elevated Nonesterified Fatty Acids (NEFAs) Predict Colonic Volvulus in Periparturient Mares

Mares are susceptible to developing a variety of diseases postpartum, one of the most prevalent being colonic volvulus. This is a serious form of colic that requires immediate emergency corrective surgery. Currently, 2 to 10 percent of mares are affected, and the mortality rate approaches 30 to 40 percent, depending on the timeliness of surgical correction. This student project will explore the role that postpartum nonesterified fatty acids and calcium levels play in the development of this disease. Results of this study may produce a tool to measure the risk of colonic volvulus development in horses and, ultimately, decrease suffering and mortality.

Kari A. Kurtz, Michigan State University