Objective: To identify hemostatic imbalances indicative of an increased risk of intra-abdominal adhesion formation in foals versus adult horses.
Animals: Horses with colic undergoing exploratory laparotomy or abdominocentesis as part of a clinical examination (n = 16 foals ≤ 6 months of age and 19 adults ≥ 5 years of age) and horses without colic undergoing herniorrhaphy (15 foals) or euthanasia for noninflammatory and nongastrointestinal disease (10 foals and 20 adults).
Procedures: Paired abdominal fluid and blood samples were collected from each horse into buffered sodium citrate and centrifuged immediately after collection. Supernatants were stored at -80°C, then thawed for measurement of fibrinogen concentration, plasminogen activity, antiplasmin activity, and D-dimer concentration. Supernatant analyte concentrations or activities were compared within age group (foals with and without colic vs adults with and without colic) and within disease status (foals and adults without colic vs foals and adults with colic).
Results: All analyte concentrations or activities in abdominal fluid samples were significantly lower in the noncolic groups than in the colic groups, and none differed between foal and adult groups. Several plasma analyte values differed by disease status and age.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: The risk of intra-abdominal adhesion formation in the foals in this study did not appear to be attributable to differences in intra-abdominal hemostasis between adult horses and foals. Strategies for initial medical and surgical management of colic in adult horses may be applicable to foals with similar disorders.