Oil Red O-positive lipid in peritoneal fluid from a horse with a rectal tear. Academic Article uri icon


  • A 4-year-old Quarter Horse mare was presented to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for evaluation of a rectal tear. On initial evaluation, rectal palpation and colonoscopy revealed a grade IIIb rectal tear. Analysis of peritoneal fluid revealed a modified transudate. Preliminary supportive care included fluid therapy and mineral oil administration via nasogastric tube. Approximately 48 hours after presentation, a second abdominocentesis was performed, and cytologic examination of the fluid revealed a marked suppurative exudate. Round clear nonrefractile material observed within neutrophils and macrophages and in the background stained bright pink to red with Oil Red O, confirming the material as lipid, likely from leakage of mineral oil through the rectal tear. The condition of the mare deteriorated and euthanasia was elected due to the poor prognosis. At necropsy, gross and histologic findings included peritoneal effusion and a full-thickness rectal tear with transmural necrotizing pyogranulomatous colitis and fibrinous peritonitis. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case of Oil Red O-positive lipid vacuoles in the peritoneal fluid of a horse from presumed leakage of mineral oil through a transmural rectal perforation. The frequency of this occurrence in horses is unknown, but it is important for cytopathologists to be familiar with the appearance and significance of lipid-type droplets in phagocytic cells in cytologic fluid analysis specimens.

published proceedings

  • Vet Clin Pathol

author list (cited authors)

  • Brown, J. S., Johnson, M. C., Sims, W. P., Boone, L. H., Swor, T. M., & Weeks, B. R.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Brown, Jennifer S||Johnson, Mark C||Sims, Will P||Boone, Lindsey H||Swor, Tamara M||Weeks, Bradley R

publication date

  • June 2011