TABLE 1:

Practitioners’ selection of different diagnostic tests in horses with colic, and the reasons they would not use specific tests, from a mixed methods survey of UK practitioners

Diagnostic testEstimated % of colic cases in which test is used (mean+/SD (range: min–max))Scenario in which test is considered to be most useful (most common category identified)Primary reason for not performing diagnostic test (% frequency of responses)Top 3 reasons for not performing diagnostic test
(% of summed responses)
Response to analgesia/treatment87.2±24.0
(range 0–100)
All/most scenariosTest not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (49.5%, 50/161)
  1. Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (32.4%, 66/204)

  2. Owner preference (18.1%, 37/204)

  3. Financial situation of owner (14.7%, 30/204)

Rectal examination75.92±21.2
(range 0–100)
Identification of specific lesion or case type (including differentiating medical v surgical)Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (32.9%, 56/270)
  1. Risk to personal safety (27.0%, 129/478)

  2. Poor cooperation from horse (23.8%, 114/478)

  3. Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (19.5%, 93/478)

Nasogastric intubation43.85±27.6
(range 0–100)
Diagnosis of cases with suspected proximal lesion (oesophageal/gastric or small intestinal)Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (69.9%, 121/173)
  1. Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (32.8%, 151/459)

  2. Poor cooperation from horse (28.3%, 130/459)

  3. Risk to personal safety (11.5%, 53/459)

Haematology and biochemistry15.23±20.6
(range 0–100)
Diagnosis of recurrent colic/ongoing casesTest not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (63.6%, 110/173)
  1. Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (34.9%, 153/439)

  2. Financial situation of owner (33.0%, 145/439)

  3. Lack of facilities/resources (14.1%, 62/439)

Abdominocentesis13.45±17.8
(range 0–100)
Determination of diagnosis/prognosis of medical v surgical/severe cases of colic/decision for euthanasiaTest not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (65.9%, 116/176)
  1. Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (30.6%, 144/471)

  2. Lack of facilities/resources (16.1%, 76/471)

  3. Poor cooperation from horse (13.6%, 64/471)

Ultrasound8.04±18.1
(range: 0–100)
Identification of specific lesion or case type (including differentiating medical v surgical)Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (44.0%, 74/168)
  1. Lack of facilities/resources (27.2%, 115/423)

  2. Test not required to contribute to diagnosis/treatment (25.3%, 107/423)

  3. Financial situation of owner (21.5%, 91/423)