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Horses that require surgical treatment for colic are at risk for development of postoperative complications and death. Unfortunately, there are no objective tests that can reliably predict which horses are most likely to develop complications after surgery. Peritoneal fluid (PF) bathes the abdominal organs, and changes in the PF environment may play an important role in intestinal disease as well as post-operative complications. To explore this theory, researchers will study the PF’s proteome – the complete set of proteins expressed within the fluid – in hopes of identifying specific proteins to distinguish between horses with colic due to strangulating intestinal disease and horses with colic due to non-strangulating intestinal disease, as well as proteins associated with post-operative complications. This pilot study is a first step toward development of an objective stall-side diagnostic test based on PF proteins. If successful, such tests would be valuable tools for equine veterinarians to better diagnose, prognosticate and ultimately treat horses with colic.

Study ID
Study Status
Start Date
Grant amount awarded
Grant recipient
University of Illinois
Study country
United States
Annette M. McCoy, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVS
Study category
Gastroenterology (Liver, Stomach, Intestinal Tract)