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Equine Health Resource

Rolling, Non-Surgical Correction for Left Dorsal Displacement of Colon, LDD



This is a treatment option for a horse diagnosed with a left dorsal displacement with entrapment of the colon in the nephrosplenic space.

This treatment has a fairly high success rate. It may eliminate the need for colic surgery and it can be performed in the field, however it is more easily performed at an equine hospital in a padded room using a hoist.

The horse is anesthetized using short acting general anesthetic and rolled through a specific sequence. Generally, a horse is placed on its left side and a vet manually attempts to dislodge the colon from the renosplenic ligament by “rolling” the horse from left to right.

Once the sequence is completed, the horse is reevaluated on rectal exam and ultrasound to determine whether the problem has been corrected.

Horses that are corrected by this procedure often pass gas within 20-60 minutes, signs of abdominal pain diminish, vital signs improve, and they begin to pass manure.

This Treatment Might be used for a horse exhibiting these signsRelated Observations

Consider Potential Side Effects & Complications

The most common complication of this procedure is it simply not working. The horse is found to still have the displacement even after the procedure.

Occasionally, a horse that is mildly painful prior to this procedure becomes more painful afterwards. In this case, the procedure may have created another problem in the abdomen. In such cases, surgery may be required.

A horse that has a tight, gas distended colon could rupture during manipulation.

Consider Reasons Not To Use This Treatment

This procedure can only correct a left dorsal displacement. If other conditions exist, such as an impaction, they are not corrected by this treatment.

Is It working? Timeframe for effect

As soon as the sequence is completed, the horse can be evaluated via ultrasound and/or rectal exam to see if it was successful. Colic signs should improve rapidly. In many cases, horses never return to pain. Intestinal function returns within minutes to hours.

Questions To Ask My Vet

  • What is the cost/benefit to delaying surgery and performing this procedure first?
  • Should we try to use phenylephrine first?

Helpful terms & topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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