Cecum

The equine large intestine can be divided into three major segments: the cecum, the large colon, and the small colon. The small intestine empties into the four foot long cecum. The cecum contains large numbers of bacteria and protozoa that digest the dietary plant fibers. In addition, these bacteria process proteins and produce essential vitamins for the horse. After exiting the cecum, the digesta enters the 10-12 foot long large colon for absorption of the bacteria-produced nutrients formed in the cecum. Abnormalities of the equine cecum are a cause of colic:

 

  • Impactions: may be precipitated by dehydration or neurologic dysfunction
  • Perforations: fatal complication of cecal impaction


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