Equine paralytic (postoperative) ileus generally refers to an acute condition of impaired gastrointestinal motility. Paralytic ileus is most frequently seen following abdominal surgery on the small intestine in horses. Three main mechanisms are involved separately or simultaneously in its causation, namely neurogenic-endocrinic, inflammatory-endotoxic and pharmacological mechanisms. Regardless of the cause, equine paralytic ileus can be fatal, if not properly diagnosed and treated. Over the past 22 years (1997–2019), we have diagnosed and treated more than 180 horses with postoperative ileus using differing methods. Based on our results and experience, and that of others, we have developed a multimodal strategy to reduce the incidence of postoperative ileus. This has resulted in effective treatment of ileus-diagnosed patients in 94% of cases, a significant improvement in survival rates over the last 20 years. In this review, we described pre-, intra-, and postoperative multiple supplementary preventative and treatment procedures that cure this condition. These methods are dependent on individual cases but include the control of endotoxemia and inflammation, as well as using the least traumatic surgical techniques, carrying out the pelvic flexure colotomy, improved anesthesia techniques, treating with continuous postoperative peritoneal lavage, the use of fluid, antibiotic and NSAIDs therapy, according to a scheme the use of different prokinetic agents (including metoclopramide, neostigmine methylsulfate and domperidone), nasogastric decompression, management to minimize the surgical and postoperative stress reaction and judicious timing of postoperative feeding of horses.
Part of the book: Equine Science