University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Extension > Horse Extension - Ask an Expert > What caused my horse's intestines to hang out?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What caused my horse's intestines to hang out?

Q: Our 31 year old horse was found alive, but with his intestines hanging out. He was euthanized. What may have caused this? We had put out free salt with selenium just before the injury. Could the selenium have something to do with the horse's bowels protruding?

A: I am sorry to hear about your horse. I do not think it was due to the selenium. I can think of two scenarios. I suspect his intestines were coming out of his rectum. This is called a rectal prolapse and is usually due to straining. Various things can cause straining, including parasites, small colon impactions, rectal trauma, uroliths, neurologic disease, and tumors (very possible at his age). If horses push enough of their intestines out, they lose the blood supply to the intestines and the intestines die off. There is no easy fix for this and sometimes no possible fix.

The other scenario would be intestines coming out a hole in his body wall and skin. That is almost always due to trauma (wound).

If it was a rectal prolapse, I would recommend getting manure samples from the other horses and have them checked for parasites, even if they are on a good deworming program. If it was trauma and a wound in the horse's body wall, I would recommend you check the pasture/paddock for sharp objects.

By Erin Malone, DVM, University of Minnesota

No comments:

Post a Comment

  • Copyright 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy