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Ileus, Lack of Normal Intestinal Motility

Synonyms: Intestinal Paralysis, Post-Operative Ileus, POI

Normal intestine undergoes specialized movement called peristalsis (normal motility). Its purpose is to propel feed along the length of the intestine and mix it with secretions, which is a critical part of digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Ileus is lack of intestinal movement or motility. It can result from a variety of causes, including inflammation and trauma from abdominal surgery (post-operative ileus). The word “ileus” implies that we don’t necessarily know the underlying cause.

In the horse, the most common segment of intestine affected by post-operative ileus is the small intestine.

Treatment involves correction of any underlying conditions, pain relief, and in some cases, the use of drugs that increase intestinal motility.

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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