Enteritis, colitis, and enterocolitis are considered some of the most common causes of disease and death in horses. Determining the etiology of these conditions is challenging, among other reasons because different causes produce similar clinical signs and lesions, and also because some agents of colitis can be present in the intestine of normal animals. We review here the main bacterial and viral causes of enterocolitis of horses, including Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens type A NetF-positive, C. perfringens type C, Clostridioides difficile, Clostridium piliforme, Paeniclostridium sordellii, other clostridia, Rhodococcus equi, Neorickettsia risticii, Lawsonia intracellularis, equine rotavirus, and equine coronavirus. Diarrhea and colic are the hallmark clinical signs of colitis and enterocolitis, and the majority of these conditions are characterized by necrotizing changes in the mucosa of the small intestine, colon, cecum, or in a combination of these organs. The presumptive diagnosis is based on clinical, gross, and microscopic findings, and confirmed by detection of some of the agents and/or their toxins in the intestinal content or feces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas