Characteristics and risk factors for failure of horses with acute diarrhea to survive: 122 cases (1990-1996). Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To characterize horses with acute diarrhea and determine risk factors for failure to survive. DESIGN: Retrospective study. ANIMALS: 122 adult horses admitted for acute diarrhea at the teaching hospital between Jan 1, 1990 and Dec 31, 1996. PROCEDURE: Medical records of horses with acute diarrhea were reviewed to abstract information regarding signalment, history, physical examination, clinicopathologic testing, treatment, and outcome. RESULTS: 91 of 122 (74.6%) horses lived and were discharged from the hospital. Horses with history of administration of antimicrobials for a problem preceding diarrhea were approximately 4.5 times less likely to survive. The following variables that had been determined at the time of admission were significantly associated with failure to survive: administration of antimicrobial drugs for another illness, serum creatinine concentration > 2.0 mg/dl, PCV > 45%, tachycardia (heart rate > 60 beats/min), and low serum total protein concentration. Prevalence of laminitis was 11.5%. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Diarrheic horses that are azotemic and have clinicopathologic findings consistent with hemoconcentration and hypoproteinemia have a poor prognosis for survival. Antimicrobial administration may induce diarrhea, and antimicrobial-associated diarrhea may have a worse prognosis than other types of acute diarrhea.

author list (cited authors)

  • Cohen, N. D., & Woods, A. M.

citation count

  • 90

publication date

  • February 1999