3 important facts about strangulating lipoma in horses

Here’s what you need to know about this type of colic most often found in older horses.

Strangulating lipoma is a type of colic caused when a fatty tumor gets wrapped around a portion of the small intestine or, very rarely, the small colon. Why elongated fatty tumors occur is not known. However, the tumors take years to develop, so they are more likely to be found in horses over the age of 10. Here are three more things you need to know about this kind of colic:

Strangulating lipoma tumors take years to develop so they are more likely to be found in horses over the age of 10.

1. Signs: mild to moderate abdominal pain that increases in severity as the strangulation progresses; signs of acute pain can manifest in many ways including restlessness, rolling, pawing, biting or staring at the flanks, stretching out, sweating, an elevated heart rate and depression. Horses are unlikely to eat or pass manure. Those with this form of colic may have a distended abdomen from the buildup of fluids.

2. Diagnosis: observation of signs as well as palpation of the small intestine via the rectum, gastric reflux, observation of intestinal distension via ultrasound, and increase in proteins and white blood cells in the peritoneal fluid

Click here to learn about the common causes of colic.

3. Treatment: Once strangulating lipoma is diagnosed, surgery is necessary to remove the tumor as well as any damaged portion of intestine.

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