Equine surgeons perform standing surgery on horse with colic

Dr. Bauck and Willow

Dr. Meghan Wanstrath and Dr. Anje Bauck with Willow prior to his discharge.

University of Florida equine surgeons performed a rare standing surgery procedure to help a thoroughbred horse named Willow who came to the UF Large Animal Hospital in December as an emergency.

“Willow was diagnosed with a type of colic known as a nephrosplenic entrapment, where the left side of the colon becomes stuck between the spleen and the kidney,” said Dr. Anje Bauck, one of the surgeons who treated Willow. “Medical therapy was attempted over the next several days, but without success.”

Surgical correction of this condition usually requires putting the horse under general anesthesia, but for various reasons, that was not an option in Willow’s case.

Instead, UF’s large animal surgery team, including Bauck, Dr. David Freeman and Dr. Meghan Wanstrath, performed standing surgery on Willow using a combination of techniques that included a specialized surgical trocar, enabling them to directly visualize her spleen and kidney. They were then able to fix Willow’s displaced colon through her flank. At the same time, surgeons performed a procedure to help prevent recurrence, so Willow won’t have this type of colic again.

“The procedure can be technically challenging and not every case of nephrosplenic entrapment would be a candidate for this type of surgery,” Bauck said. “However, our team felt that Willow would be a good patient to attempt this procedure on, so we wanted to try. It was an interesting teaching case, and we’re all grateful that Willow had such a good outcome.”

Willow’s treatment was made possible with funding from the Boone Samaritan Fund.

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