Management of uroperitoneum through combination of conservative and surgical treatments in colts

Ruptures of the urinary bladder and urachus are the most frequent cause of uroperitoneum in foals. Surgical correction is often the first treatment choice, however, nonsurgical methods, such as urine removal via urinary catheters and abdominal drains, have been successfully performed in foals. The follow-up of bladder/urethral rupture in two colts treated through the combination of surgical and conservative techniques is reported in the present study. 

The patients were referred to the Equine Perinatology Unit for suspicion of uroperitoneum. The diagnosis was confirmed by hematobiochemical and ultrasound examinations, thus cystorrhaphy and cystoplasty were attempted. Surgeons found a lesion in the dorsocranial margin of the bladder (Case 1) and a tear in the pelvic urethra (Case 2); in the first case, the defect was routinely repaired, while the last lesion was impossible to repair due to its localization. A urinary catheter was left in place in both cases. Uroperitoneum recurred 72 hours after the surgery in both foals: a second surgical correction was not recommended due to the localization of the tears and conservative treatment, with the placement of a 32F chest tube in the most ventral part of the abdomen, was preferred. Abdominal drains were removed 5-7 days after surgery, while urinary catheters were left in place for up to 7-8 days. Colts conditions improved during hospitalizations. Two months after bladder surgery, Case 1 was euthanized due to multiple adhesions between the small intestine and the abdominal wall. Case 2 was still alive one year postoperatively. 

Although it cannot be considered the first choice for the treatment of uroperitoneum in the foal, nonsurgical treatment was successful in these both cases in the short-term follow-up. However, the prognosis should be cautious due to the risk of long-term complications.  

“Management of uroperitoneum through combination of conservative and surgical treatments in two colts”. Chiara Montano, et al. Open Vet J. 2023 Nov;13(11):1471-1477.  doi: 10.5455/OVJ.2023.v13.i11.11. 


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