A horse can carry or more smaller enteroliths in his gut, or he may develop only one or two large ones. Often, the small ones pass. Enteroliths are one of the leading causes of severe colic in the state of California. The word enterolith is derived from the Greek terms “entero”. Enteroliths are mineralized concretions of magnesium ammonium phosphate ( struvite) that develop in the right dorsal colon of the horse.

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Enteroliths are uncommon and usually incidental findings but, once found, they require at a minimum watchful waiting. Signs indicative of mild abdominal discomfort may also be present such as pawing, flank-watching, kicking or resentment of a girth. They sometimes can be visualized on CT scans without contrast; presence of contrast in the lumen may reveal the enterolith as a void.

Symptoms of a trapped fecalith are the same as a trapped enterolith. The classic presentation for a horse with an enterolith in many practices would be a 10 year old Arabian horse fed predominantly alfalfa hay with a history of multiple colic episodes.

Enteroliths in Horses – Kentucky Equine Research

Fecaliths do not usually have the same spherical shape as enteroliths when viewed by x-ray. Book me a walkiee? Fecalith Symptoms of a trapped fecalith are the same as a trapped enterolith.

Views Read Edit View history. Ultrasound imaging is useful for evaluating the health of the tissues in the digestive system and can be helpful in locating pockets of fluid or intestinal rupture.

Counter-intuitively, the worst form of the disease is not the largest stones. As stones grow, they can cause damage to the intestinal walls, particularly in the bowel.

Enteroliths in Horses

When you cut an enterolith in half, you can frequently visualize a central body with rings of mineral deposits around it resembling rings in a tree trunk Enerolith 2. An enterolith typically forms within a diverticulum.

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It is not uncommon for enterolithiasis to go undiagnosed until exploratory surgery is able to help uncover the cause of the obstruction. In horses with suspected enterolithiasis, abdominal X-rays are the most likely route to a diagnosis. Enteroliths take approximately 2 years to form a sufficient size to cause an obstruction. Recovery of Enterolithiasis in Horses. Search Library Entire Site.

Therefore, the incidence of asymptomatic enteroliths is unknown. Mother of Millions Poisoning. It is particularly helpful when the patient is physically small, and when the stone is lodged in the large colon. Like many veterinarians, Tim decided to become an equine veterinarian at a very young age.

Enterolith – Wikipedia

Small enteroliths may not cause any symptoms as they pass through the digestive tract but larger enteroliths interfere with the digestive process and result in symptoms such as: While no one knows exactly why a particular horse develops intestinal stones, three factors seem to be associated with an increased risk. However, histories of many horses admitted to clinics for enterolith surgery have shown significant dietary changes in the previous weeks, suggesting that such alterations may have caused the stones to shift and create a blockage.

Unless the stone is removed, the intestine eventually ruptures and the horse develops fatal peritonitis. In this respect, an enterolith forms by a process similar to the creation enteroluth a pearl. If the stone was not visible on the x-ray images, signs from the ultrasound may help to guide where exploratory surgery should take place.

Because the stones can move within the large intestine, they can cause an obstruction with resultant build up of feed and gas causing pain, and then roll back out of the way allowing gas and feed to pass. Ultimately large stones lodge in the gut, frequently where the intestine narrows at the pelvic flexure or right dorsal colon, and the gut wall begins to uorse from abrasion and pressure.

Thoroughbreds appear to be underrepresented. Of these, bowel obstruction is most common, [10] followed by ileus [11] and perforation.


It is more helpful enterooith detecting enteroliths in the large colon and is generally most successful in small horses or ponies. Horses with a partial obstruction of the right dorsal or transverse colon may display signs of chronic or recurrent colic, sometimes occurring over a period of weeks up to a year. This association has been attributed to the cultivation of alfalfa on serpentine soilsresulting in high concentrations of magnesium in the alfalfa.

Horses turned out on unlimited fresh forage seem to have little trouble with enteroliths.

Enterolithiasis in Horses

Some theories link phosphorus-rich wheat bran, water with a high content of dissolved minerals, or iron-laden feeds to enterolith formation. Also known as gut stones, these masses generally pass through the digestive system and are expelled with the feces, however, if the enterolith gets trapped in the digestive system it can continue collecting additional material until it reaches up to twenty pounds. Abrasions and ruptures of the tissues that make up the digestive system can be very dangerous, and may negatively impact the outcome of surgery.

In many cases, there is a high index of suspicion based on breed and diet history. Once the animal has returned home water should be made available at all times to help encourage proper digestion.

Clinical signs in these horses may be non-specific including weight loss, anorexia, changes in demeanour and lethargy. One cup of Apple Cider vinegar fed twice daily is commonly used in an effort to lower the pH of the large intestine to decrease the likelihood of stone formation.

Enteroliths are mineral masses that form in the colon of a horse. Rare diseases Gastrointestinal tract disorders.