Postoperative ileus, or prolonged absence of bowel movement following intestinal surgery, significantly endangers the lives of horses after colic surgery. Veterinarians do not currently have a method of universally treating POI or predicting when this serious postoperative complication might occur. To address this problem, researchers will study key biological mechanisms that may decrease intestinal wall function and trigger inflammation. The team theorizes these mechanisms may decrease the intestinal wall’s capability as a natural barrier, allowing bacterial products to leak into the bloodstream and travel through the body, causing life-threatening complications for the horse. Study findings will improve our understanding of the biological mechanisms associated with POI and may lead to the discovery of new therapy targets or prognostic methods to help predict which colic patients undergoing surgery are at high-risk of developing POI.
Grant amount awarded
North Carolina State University
Emily A Hellstrom, DVM
Gastroenterology (Liver, Stomach, Intestinal Tract)