A horse can carry or more smaller enteroliths in his gut, or he may develop only one or two large ones. Often, the small ones pass. Enteroliths are one of the leading causes of severe colic in the state of California. The word enterolith is derived from the Greek terms “entero”. Enteroliths are mineralized concretions of magnesium ammonium phosphate ( struvite) that develop in the right dorsal colon of the horse.

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There have also been enteroilth reported in France and the United Kingdom, and there is at least one report of enteroliths in a zebra herd.

Some horses pass small enteroliths with their manure, but masses larger than a golf ball usually cause hotse colic symptoms as passage uorse gut contents is impaired. They sometimes can be visualized on CT scans without contrast; presence of contrast in the lumen may reveal the enterolith as a void.

If the stone was not visible on the x-ray images, signs from the ultrasound may help to guide where exploratory surgery should take place. Brown Recluse Spider Bite. Symptoms of Enterolithiasis in Horses. It is not uncommon for enterolithiasis to go undiagnosed until exploratory surgery is able to help uncover the cause of the obstruction.

Enterolithiasis in Horses

Affected horses may show decreased appetite resulting in a drop in weight. Bowel obstruction and ileus typically occur when a large enterolith is expelled from a diverticulum into the lumen. In horses with suspected enterolithiasis, abdominal X-rays are the most likely route to a diagnosis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Enteroljth. Commonly referred to as stones, enteroliths are composed of struvite crystals which coalesce around some central object like a pebble or a small piece of wire ingested by the horse.

Females are more likely to develop enteroliths than males; this is hypothesised to be due to the presence of prostaglandins in the serum leading to alterations in gut motility. They are also known as intestinal stones or calculi. Enteroliths in horses were reported widely in the 19th century, infrequently in the early 20th century, and now increasingly.


Most enteroliths are not apparent and cause no complications. Most often, hotse are visualized using ultrasound. This association has been attributed to the cultivation of alfalfa on serpentine soilsresulting in high concentrations of magnesium in the alfalfa.

Enterolithiasis in Horses – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Clinical signs in these horses may be non-specific including weight loss, anorexia, changes in demeanour and lethargy. Abdominal radiograph showing a large enterolith.

Kentucky Coffee Tree Poisoning. Therefore, horses with small enteroliths may or may not exhibit colic signs. Counter-intuitively, the worst form of the fnterolith is not the largest stones.

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It is more helpful for detecting enteroliths in the large colon and is generally most successful in small horses or ponies. However, enteroliths which have moved into the small colon have a somewhat worse prognosis for surgical correction than their large colon counterparts. A third is preventing ingestion of foreign objects by cleaning up pastures and turnout paddocks.

Horses are enteroloth fasted for twenty-four hours prior to surgery, and another twelve to twenty-four hours of fasting may be required after surgery to prevent the distention of any healing tissues. Enterolithiasis in Horses Book in. Once the animal has returned home water should be made available at all times to help encourage proper digestion.

Alfalfa should preferably be eliminated from the diet. The largest one I have seen was the size of a basketball. Causes of Enterolithiasis in Horses. Retrieved from ” https: Small enteroliths are generally passed in the manure, however, large enteroliths can get caught in the intestine and impair the passage of the contents of the gut and may ultimately get trapped in the digestive system, and the pressure and abrasion from the stone may cause the tissues to necrotize.


Fecalith Symptoms of a trapped fecalith are the same as a trapped enterolith. Cresty Necks and Laminitis: One cup of Apple Cider ohrse fed twice daily is commonly used in an effort to lower the pH of the large intestine to decrease the likelihood of stone formation.

The prognosis is excellent when surgery is performed early. Scattered diagnoses have been reported throughout America, yorse California and Florida.

Enteroliths are seen as sperical, homogeneously opaque bodies within the intestinal lumen. Recovery of Enterolithiasis in Horses. If you would like to help with this, please see more information about expert reviewing. The symptoms and physical exam will most likely suggest an obstruction in the digestive system, but additional technology is required to determine what is causing the obstruction and where it is located.

Journal of Wildlife Diseases. While no one knows exactly why a particular horse develops intestinal stones, three factors seem to be associated with an increased risk. Rare diseases Gastrointestinal tract disorders.

Symptoms of a trapped fecalith are the same as a trapped enterolith. The colon is evacuated via a colotomy at the pelvic flexure, after which the enterolith is gently manipulated to enteroliyh incision site and removed. Horses turned out on unlimited fresh forage seem to have little trouble with enteroliths.

Horse in which severe cardiovascular compromise has occurred also have a poorer prognosis. In most cases of enterolithiasis, passage of gas, faeces and lubricants such as mineral oil will still occur.