Summary: Gastrointestinal rupture is an important cause and complication of equine colic. The stomach is the most commonly affected segment in the gastrointestinal tract involved in gastrointestinal rupture. Gastric rupture can be primary or secondary; however, unless prodromal clinical signs are identified, localised and corrected, the resulting peritoneal contamination with feed, intestinal secretions and bacteria is invariably fatal. Causes for gastric rupture may be known or idiopathic; however, factors that predispose a horse to gastric rupture are poorly understood. Further research is needed to identify underlying causes and pathophysiology of gastric rupture to prevent it from occurring.
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