Conditions or ailments that are the cause of a problem that you see - your observation.

Your vet may diagnose

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.

my vet's role


With prompt diagnosis and treatment, many of these horses do well. However, sometimes it requires a massive effort over several weeks to reestablish function of the small intestine. Laminitis is a fairly common complication.

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP