A Closer Look at Pedunculated Lipomas in Horses

Anyone who has ever owned a horse knows that they are more than just pets, they're part of the family. When a horse is in distress, it can be a very worrying and stressful situation for its owner. One common cause of distress in horses, especially those that are older, is a condition called pedunculated lipoma. But what exactly is this and how does it affect our equine friends? Let's dive in and take a closer look.

What Is a Pedunculated Lipoma?

A pedunculated lipoma is a type of fatty tumor that develops within the mesentery of the small intestine. This tissue is what attaches the small intestine to the roof of the abdominal cavity and houses the critical arteries that provide life-sustaining oxygen to support normal intestinal function. In essence, it's a sort of fatty growth that can cause significant problems for your horse if not addressed properly.

As the horse ages, this lipoma can grow larger and stretch its attachment to the mesentery, creating what is known as a pedicle. It then wraps around a segment of nearby small intestine and its mesentery much like a bola, a South American weapon that involves a cord with weights attached, leading to strangulation of the tissues until they ultimately die.

How Does a Pedunculated Lipoma Affect Horses?

The development of a pedunculated lipoma is a time-consuming process. This explains why most horses affected by this condition are 10 years and older at the time of diagnosis. Although their age is an immediately recognisable diagnostic clue, these horses also often display a stoic attitude which unfortunately masks the severity of their colic symptoms.

Lipoma-Induced Colic

Diseases of the small intestine account for about 34% of all colic cases treated at veterinary hospitals. Most of these—in fact, up to 85%—are caused by strangulations that disrupt blood supply to this part of the digestive system, and the most common small intestinal strangulating diseases in adult horses are caused by pedunculated lipomas.

What To Do If Your Horse Has a Pedunculated Lipoma

Upon noticing any signs of colic or other distress in your horse, it is important to consult a veterinarian immediately. Essentially, the earlier the condition is diagnosed and treatment starts, the better chances your horse has of making a full recovery. If you happen to own an older horse, it is also advisable to ask for routine check-ups for pedunculated lipoma even if they aren't showing any symptoms yet. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure!

Remember, nothing substitutes for professional veterinary advice. So, always liaise with your vet on all matters concerning your horse's health. After all, every horse owner wants their horse to lead a healthy and happy life, and being informed about conditions like pedunculated lipoma is part of achieving that goal.

Though the thought of your cherished horse battling a condition such as pedunculated lipoma can be disheartening, always remember that these majestic creatures are renowned for being both strong and resilient. And with prompt, professional veterinary care, they can, and do, come through such trials.

If you're looking for more information on equine health and care, head over to TheHorse.com. There, you'll find a wealth of resources on everything from breeding and reproduction to diseases and conditions, all geared towards helping you keep your horse at their healthiest.

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