Since a horse with anterior enteritis is dumping so much fluid into the small intestine and stomach, they can become dehydrated very quickly. These fluids have to be replaced via intravenous fluids. Other treatments include anti-inflammatory medication (usually Banamine) and anti-endotoxic drugs such as polymixin B. Motility agents such as lidocaine or metoclopramide are also employed many times to couteract the effects of distended intestine. Antibiotics are not always necessary, however if the cause of the disease is suspected to be bacterial, or secondary bacterial infections are found, then they may be added.
As we said, this can be a devastating disease. If treatment is instituted early, complications may be limited. The best possible care for a horse suffering from anterior enteritis is at a 24-hour equine hospital, as treatment must be around the clock if the patient is to have the best chance for survival. With the highest level of care, the survival rate is around 60-80%. We have a chance of treating this on the farm, but the survival rate is not likely to be as high. In the case of all emergencies, it's a good idea to make the decision regarding whether or not referral to a hospital is an option BEFORE it occurs. When emotions are running high, this decision can be exceedingly difficult.
As with any type of colic, please call your veterinarian as soon as possible to have them evaluated when you first start seeing signs. The sooner appropriate care is begun, the better chance your horse will have of coming through without complications. We never mind chatting about clinical signs - so if you have any concerns that what you're seeing is colic, just call.