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Left Dorsal Displacement of Large Colon with Nephro-Splenic Entrapment

Left dorsal displacement of the large colon with a nephro-splenic entrapment is often described as an “intestinal accident” because there may be no obvious cause. In this displacement, the left colon slides from its usually position up between the spleen and body wall and ends up trapped on a ligament between the left kidney and spleen.

The condition is characterized by signs of mild to moderate abdominal pain (colic). In some cases, horses with this condition will have obvious distention of their left abdomen. A definitive diagnosis of this condition is commonly reached in a standing horse with a careful rectal examination and the use of ultrasound.

This diagnosis is more commonly seen in Arabian and Warmblood breeds, but it can occur in any breed of horse. The condition may start as simple gas accumulation, impaction, spasm or abnormal motility which leads to the displacement.

A surgical procedure exists wherein the nephrosplenic space is closed, removing that “trap” for the colon and making displacement less common but not impossible.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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