Effect of a stent bandage on the likelihood of incisional infection following exploratory coeliotomy for colic in horses: A comparative retrospective study

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Reasons for performing study:

Incisional infections are common in horses after colic surgery. There is a clinical impression that the use of a stent bandage reduces the prevalence of such infections.


To determine the effect of a stent bandage on the likelihood of incisional infection after ventral midline exploratory coeliotomy. It was hypothesised that the use of a stent bandage would reduce the likelihood of incisional infection.


Medical records of horses that underwent exploratory coeliotomy for colic between January 2005 and September 2011 were reviewed. Inclusion criteria were animals that had one ventral midline coeliotomy and had survived at least 10 days after surgery. Horses were categorised into 2 groups:no-stent group and stent group. The following data were collected for each case: age, sex, weight, heart rate, packed cell volume, primary lesion, performance of an enterotomy or intestinal resection, surgical classification, use of local antimicrobials, duration of surgery, intra-abdominal administration of sodium carboxymethylcellulose, intravenous administration of lidocaine, surgeon, use of a stent bandage, duration of stent use, and use of a belly band. Factors associated with the outcome measure ‘wound infection’ vs. ‘no wound infection’ were analysed using a generalised linear mixed model for logistic regression with surgeon as a random effect.


The inclusion criteria were met in 130 horses: 55 were assigned to the no-stent group and 75 to the stent group. In the no-stent group, 12 (21.8%) horses developed incisional infections, whereas only 2 horses (2.7%) in the stent group had incisional infections. In the stent group, no incisional infections were observed during the last 20 months of the study. Statistical analysis showed that only the effect of the use of a stent bandage was significant (P = 0.005).


The prevalence of incisional infections when a stent bandage was used was 2.7%, a finding that compared favourably to information in the literature. Use of a stent bandage significantly reduced the likelihood of incisional infections.

Potential relevance:

A stent bandage would reduce the likelihood of incisional infection in horses undergoing exploratory coeliotomy for colic.

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