🐴 This Gypsy Vanner colt from Stone Bridge Stables had marked swelling in the inguinal region at 12 hours of age. He was evaluated by Dr. Barbara Schmidt of SmartEQ who suspected an inguinal hernia. She was not able to reduce (replace the contents of the hernia) the hernia and referred the colt to us.
🩺The colt was evaluated by Dr. Courtney Pope with our internal medicine team. The colt was bright and healthy systemically but was showing mild signs of discomfort. Dr. Pope confirmed small intestine was entrapped within the scrotum using ultrasound. Even with sedation, reducing the intestine back into the abdomen was not possible. Emergency surgery was recommended to correct the herniation prior to the intestine becoming more compromised.
👨🔬Dr. Gustavo Abuja, one of our surgeons, performed the surgery. About 1.5 feet of the small intestine were trapped within the scrotum, through the left inguinal ring. Fortunately, the intestine was healthy and motile. The intestine was replaced in the abdomen and the inguinal ring was closed, requiring a unilateral castration.
🎉The colt recovered very well from surgery and went home 4 days later.
📣Congenital inguinal hernias are typically evident at birth or within the first few days of life in male horses. Standardbreds and draft breeds may be predisposed. It is not clear if the condition is heritable. The abnormally large inguinal ring allows small interesting to slip through the ring and into the scrotum. Often the intestine does not become entrapped and the condition resolves over time as the rings close. However, if the intestine becomes entrapped it can lead to severe colic and compromised intestine that may need to be resected.
Palpation of the testicles should be a part of all routine new foal exams. Rapid referral of non-reducible, complicated hernias is key to a positive outcome!