Study of the clinical effects of postoperative parenteral nutrition in 15 horses

Parenteral nutrition does not appear to help horses that have been operated on

source: A.E. Durham et al
Veterinary Record vol 153 no 16, October 18 2003
starts p 493, 6 pages long

Horses often need emergency surgery to deal with acute intestinal problems. They are often kept without food and water after surgery, with electrolytes and water given intravenously for the perioperative period [around the time of the operation]. Food deprivation can affect recovery from surgery in a number of species, including horses and humans. However, studies of humans and horses have found both benefits and drawbacks to providing perioperative parenteral feeding [feeding through a vein]. This study investigates the effects of parenteral nutrition on 15 horses which had undergone exploratory laparotomies, comparing them with 15 horses which were starved routinely.

Parenteral nutrition did not appear to have great benefits for the horses in this study either in the short or the long term. Ten horses of 14 from both groups were alive five months after the operation, while one horse died from unrelated causes. A larger study would help to clarify the effects of parenteral nutrition, and could include the effect on lactating mares, growing youngstock, and malnourished horses. The article describes the methods and results in greater detail.