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Duodenitis-Proximal Jejunitis, DPJ

Synonyms: Proximal Enteritis, Anterior Enteritis

This is a somewhat mysterious and often life-threatening inflammatory disorder of the most upstream portion of the small intestine. There are a variety of theories as to its cause, including bacterial infection and the production of bacterial toxins.

Severe inflammation shuts down gastrointestinal function and foul smelling fluid (reflux) backs up into the stomach. Signs include colic and depression proceeding quickly to shock. Excessive reflux is usually found on passage of a nasogastric tube.

This disorder, which is usually treated medically, is easily confused with other disorders that require surgery. Due to this, multiple diagnostics may be used to confirm this diagnosis. It may take several days of intensive nursing care and frequent removal of stomach fluid to save these horses.

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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