Five new studies focusing on equine colic are to be funded by the Morris Animal Foundation this year, highlighting one of the major concerns of horse owners and veterinarians. Estimates suggest that 4% to 10% of horses will experience colic at least once in their lifetime, and the actual incidence may be even higher. Although the majority of horses can be successfully treated on the farm, about 10% require referral for advanced care, including surgery. Chief Scientific Officer Dr Janet Patterson-Kane said colic “consistently ranks among the top health concerns of horse owners and veterinarians”. The Foundation’s Large Animal Scientific Advisory Board reviewed all submitted grant applications and chose the studies with the greatest potential to save lives,
preserve health and advance veterinary care for horses with colic. The funded studies are: different approaches to investigate the interaction between inflammation and gut motility, to assist in developing methods of preventing ileus (reduced gut motility) after colic surgery. Researchers will look for colic risk factors associated with transportation to develop better management recommendations for horses requiring transport. Development of an educational program for horse owners in underserved communities in Colombia to improve early recognition of colic, a key component of successful treatment. Search for biomarkers to identify horses at higher risk for postoperative surgical complications as a first step toward a new prognostic test.