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TDK conference 2020

Comparing Preoperative Colic Behavior with the Diagnosis Established at Surgery
Batthyány Daria Maria - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department and Clinic of Equine Medicine
Supervisor: Dr. Gábor Bodó


Colic is among the most frequently occurring equine diseases and is characterized by great diversity in severity. It can range from a simple colic that can be treated conservatively to cases where surgical intervention is the only option, but even this does not always guarantee success. Therefore, a quick decision-making process is vital in regard to equine colic, as the survival of the patient often depends on it.

Previous studies have attempted to find a link between the pain perceived and the degree of severity of the colic endured. Such a relationship has been established and implemented in so called pain scales by a variety of authors. However, this concept has not been explored to an extent at which it can be universally applied to equine clinics. This study is focused on elaborating this idea further by finding a direct relationship between behavior expressed and final diagnosis established at surgery. Discovering such a connection would significantly facilitate and speed up the decision-making process regarding colic patients.

Behavior evaluated in this study was focused on five main types: 1 – Pawing, 2 – Looking at the right flank, 3 –Looking at the left flank, 4 – Lying down and 5 – A wide stance. Colic patients where monitored according to these five behavioral patterns and the findings were then compared to their final diagnosis. For example, throughout the course of this research the manner of pawing was the most frequent type of behavior occurring despite the use of analgesics and could be observed in the broadest range of diagnoses. The behavior of looking at the right flank is interesting too, as there is a possibility of finding a linkage between watching the right flank and the diagnosis of a right dorsal displacement. However, the amount of cases in this thesis were limited in number and thus such a relationship could be further investigated.

A distinct link between a certain type of colic leading to the expression of a certain behavior, could not be made. However, a correlation between the pain, the behavior and the final diagnosis was observed. Whenever a patient was experiencing strong pain, it was most often diagnosed with a severe type of colic which in turn lead to the expression of increased behavioral patterns within the scope of the five types of behavior explored in this study. For instance, patients diagnosed with a sever type of colic such as large colon volvulus showed a multitude of behavioral patterns in comparison to a milder form.

Colic behavior, Type of colic, Relationship between colic and diagnosis, Diagnosis established at surgery, Pain scales

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