Medical management of right dorsal colitis in 5 horses: a retrospective study (1987-1993). Academic Article uri icon


  • Right dorsal colitis in horses has been associated with administration of phenylbutazone. Although reports of right dorsal colitis in this species have described surgical treatment associated with a poor prognosis, we have had success treating this condition medically. This report describes 5 horses with right dorsal colitis confirmed during celiotomy that were initially managed medically. All horses had a history of intermittent abdominal pain; weight loss was noted in only 1 horse. The doses (2.0 to 4.6 mg/kg PO bid) and duration (5 to 30 days) of administration of phenylbutazone were not unusually high relative to those recommended (4.4 mg/kg PO bid). Hypoproteinemia and hypoalbuminemia were observed in all horses at the time of admission; packed cell volume was low in 4 horses, and hypocalcemia was also observed in 4 horses. Three of 5 horses (60%) appeared to respond to dietary management and discontinuation of administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Dietary management consisted of feeding pelleted feed, and restricting or eliminating roughage for a period of at least 3 months. Two horses developed strictures of the right dorsal colon. One horse that developed a colonic stricture, possibly because its owners did not comply with recommendations for management, was subsequently treated surgically. The remaining horse that developed a stricture of the right dorsal colon was euthanized. These data indicate that some horses with right dorsal colitis can be successfully managed with medical treatment.

published proceedings

  • J Vet Intern Med

author list (cited authors)

  • Cohen, N. D., Carter, G. K., Mealey, R. H., & Taylor, T. S.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Cohen, ND||Carter, GK||Mealey, RH||Taylor, TS

publication date

  • July 1995