The aim of this study was to survey veterinary practitioners’ selection of diagnostic tests for horses with clinical signs of abdominal pain. A questionnaire was distributed to veterinary surgeons involved in the primary evaluation of horses with abdominal pain, including the respondent's demographics, selection of diagnostic tests and factors affecting decision-making. Data analysis included descriptive analysis, categorisation of free text and simple univariable correlations to explore the relationships between independent variables and the relative self-estimated frequency that diagnostic tests were performed. A total of 228 responses were analysed. Participants worked in mixed practice (55.7 per cent), first opinion equine (22.8 per cent), first and second opinion equine (17.9 per cent) and referral practice (3.1 per cent). The majority (48.2 per cent, 105/218) were very confident managing a colic case (confidence level 4/5). The most frequently used diagnostic tests were ‘response to analgesia’ (87.2±24.0 per cent cases), rectal examination (75.9±21.2 per cent) and nasogastric intubation (43.8±27.6 per cent). Approach varied between practitioners, and for all diagnostic tests with frequency of use ranging from 0 to 100 per cent of cases. ‘Risk to personal safety’ was the most common reason for not using rectal examination. Practitioner's opinion of their confidence level in managing a colic case was associated with how frequently they used different diagnostic tests. There was marked variation in practitioners’ approaches, highlighting the need for further evidence to support decision-making.
- Veterinary profession
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Statistics from Altmetric.com
This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.
- Data supplement 1 - Online supplement
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.