Study Compares Abdominal Bandage Types

Study Compares Abdominal Bandage Types

Equine surgeons have varying opinions on the use of abdominal bandages after colic surgery.

Photo: Amelia Munsterman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, CVA

It's no secret that leg wraps and bandages applied to horses' lower limbs protect and support the soft tissues within. But what about the abdominal bandages veterinarians wrap around horses' bodies post-colic surgery—do they function in the same way?

Study author Warren Beard, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, professor of equine surgery at Kansas State University, said equine surgeons have varying opinions on the use of abdominal bandages after colic surgery.

“Many surgeons are of neutral opinion, while others have strong opinions either for, or against, the use of abdominal bandages post-surgery,” Beard said. “The little scientific literature that exists on this topic does not help settle the issue. But, no one doubts that abdominal bandages can help keep the incision protected and clean.

“What was less clear, and what we wanted to focus on for the study, was how much support the bandages were actually providing and how long that support would last,” he said.

Beard and colleagues conducted a randomized, crossover study using nine healthy horses and three types of abdominal bandages: a CM Hernia Belt, an Elastikon elastic bandage, and a stretch nylon bandage. The researchers placed pressure sensors under the bandages and recorded measurements over a 24-hour period.

The researchers found that the Hernia Belt provided more pressure, and thus support, than the elastic or nylon bandages; further, the Hernia Belt stayed in place better than the other two bandages.

Although the study results showed that the Hernia Belt provided even, consistent support, Beard said the study did not determine whether this support can help prevent incisional infections and/or hernias after colic surgery.

“Abdominal bandages, in our opinion, are not essential to healing colic incisions,” Beard said. “However, we do agree they are very effective at keeping the incision clean and would advise using them in horses that want to lie down frequently after surgery.

“Based on the study findings, we would be likely to use the CM Hernia Belt for treating an incision at risk of developing a hernia since this bandage applied the most pressure.”

The study, "Comparison of sub-bandage pressures achieved by three abdominal bandaging techniques in horses," will appear in an upcoming issue of the Equine Veterinary Journal

About the Author

Lindsay Keller

Lindsay Keller is an equine freelance journalist and consultant based out of northwest Oklahoma. She also is an avid barrel racer who enjoys starting and training her own horses on the barrel racing pattern.

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