BMC veterinary research 2018 01 1914(1) 21 doi 10.1186/s12917-018-1343-1
Diagnosing IBD in horses is challenging and requires a multimodal approach, since no conclusive diagnostic test is available. The objectives of this study were to provide an overview of population characteristics, results of applied diagnostic tests, treatment modalities and outcome in a large group of horses thought to have IBD and that were presented to four large equine referral hospitals, and to provide an exploratory investigation of possible associations between results of applied diagnostic tests, applied treatment modalities and outcome. A retrospective case series was performed across four large equine referral hospitals. Seventy-eight horses, thought to have IBD were included. Case history, clinical findings, diagnostic test results including oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and enteral biopsies (both duodenal and rectal), applied therapy and outcome were studied. A Chi-Square test was used to identify associations between results of diagnostic tests, treatment and outcome. P-values < 0.05 were considered significant. RESULTS
Lethargy, diarrhoea, recurrent colic and weight loss were recorded in respectively 21,8%; 14,1%; 28,2% and 78,2% of cases. Over 70% of horses thought to have IBD had an abnormal OGTT. Only weight loss was significantly associated with aberrant enteral biopsy results, but not with abnormal OGTT results or low blood total protein. There was no association between an aberrant biopsy result and a disturbed OGTT. There was no association between either OGTT results or enteral biopsy results and a low blood total protein content, presence of gastric ulcer disease or an aberrant endoscopic aspect of the duodenal entrance.
Weight loss is a highly prevalent symptom in IBD suspected horses. Enteral biopsies may be a useful diagnostic aid in the work-up of horses thought to suffer from IBD, however further research is required to demonstrate their true diagnostic value. Until more standardized scientific research is available, one should be careful with the interpretation of enteral biopsy results There is a need for better standardization of enteral biopsy procedures and the histopathological scoring of biopsies.