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Correlation Between Peritonitis and Incisional Infections in Horses

Dória, Renata G.S., Freitas, Silvio H., Laskoski, Luciane M., Arruda, Laura P., Shimano, Antônio C.
Journal of equine veterinary science 2020 v.87 pp. 102903
abdominal cavity, adhesion, cecum, collagen, colon, edema, endotoxemia, heat, hernia, histopathology, horse diseases, horses, inflammation, laparotomy, muscles, peritonitis, tensile strength
Surgical site infection of abdominal incisions is an important complication after laparotomy with increased risk of incisional hernia formation in horses. This study aims to evaluate the healing process of abdominal incisions and correlate peritonitis with the occurrence of surgical site infection and incisional hernias. Nine horses underwent standardized laparotomy, intestinal exploration, and induced septic peritonitis. Standardized relaparotomy was performed two (n = 3), four (n = 3), and six (n = 3) months later to evaluate the abdominal cavity for adhesions and to collect the sutured ventral abdominal wall to evaluate and prepare it for histopathological and tensile strength study. All horses presented with endotoxemia, controllable peritonitis, heat and touch-sensitive ventral abdominal edema and surgical wound infection with presence of purulent discharge. Adhesion of the cecum or colon to the internal portion of the surgical wound was observed. Healing of the infected surgical wounds occurred by second intention and a space between the rectus abdominis muscles developed because of the presence of a scar, which was related to incisional hernia. In the histopathological evaluation, the collagen content increased, and the inflammation decreased over time. The tensile strength increased over time and was highest after 6 months. After the second surgical intervention, there was no infection of the surgical wound in any of the animals and healing by first intention occurred. Surgical site infection may be a symptom of peritonitis in horses recovering from abdominal surgery. Infected surgical wounds heal by second intention, which favors the spacing of rectus abdominis muscle and the formation of incisional hernia.