A newborn foal was referred for evaluation because it had not passed meconium, despite the administration of four enemas. Abdominal radiographs and ultrasound scans showed generalised gaseous distension of the intestine and there was no observable meconium in the colon. Positive contrast colography showed contrast medium extending to the transverse colon. An exploratory laparotomy confirmed the absence of the left and right dorsal colon and the pelvic and diaphragmatic flexures. An end-to-side anastomosis of the left ventral colon to the midpoint of the small colon was performed. The foal recovered from anaesthesia and surgery uneventfully and immediately began suckling from the mare, with no signs of abdominal pain in the postoperative period. The foal began to pass soft faeces 3 days after surgery and at 6 months after surgery the foal was clinically normal and growing at a similar rate to its cohort.Conclusion
Intestinal atresia is a rare condition in foals, but should be considered as a differential diagnosis in foals that fail to pass meconium. Early recognition and surgical intervention can offer an improved chance of short-term survival in cases where there is adequate intestine to anastomose. An end-to-side anastomosis technique can be used where an end-to-end technique is not practical because of the difference in diameter of the proximal and distal intestinal segments.