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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2014, Article ID 279730, 8 pages
Review Article

Peritoneal Response to Abdominal Surgery: The Role of Equine Abdominal Adhesions and Current Prophylactic Strategies

School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, UNESP, University Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil

Received 17 September 2013; Accepted 22 November 2013; Published 20 January 2014

Academic Editor: Francesca Mancianti

Copyright © 2014 Juliana de Moura Alonso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intra-abdominal adhesions constitute a significant clinical and surgical problem that can lead to complications such as pain and bowel occlusion or subocclusion. These adhesions are frustrating and potentially fatal, representing a major postoperative complication in abdominal surgery. It is estimated that 32% of horses undergoing laparotomy will present clinical symptoms due to adhesions, but the true prevalence is not known because a large proportion of animals with postoperative recurrent colics are medically treated or submitted to euthanasia without necropsy. Adhesions are highly cellular, vascularized, dynamic structures that are influenced by complex signaling mechanisms. Understanding their pathogenesis could assist in applying better therapeutic strategies and in developing more effective antiadhesion products. Currently, there are no definitive strategies that prevent adhesion formation, and it is difficult to interpret the results of existing studies due to nonstandardization of an induction model and evaluation of their severity. The best clinical results have been obtained from using minimally traumatic surgical techniques, anti-inflammatory agents, antimicrobials, anticoagulants, and mechanical separation of serosal surfaces by viscous intraperitoneal solutions or physical barriers. This paper aims to review adhesion formation pathogenesis, guide the understanding of major products and drugs used to inhibit adhesion formation, and address their effectiveness in the equine species.