Activation of coagulation can be frequently found in horses with colic. However, it has also been demonstrated as a sequela of surgical trauma alone in humans. The purpose of the present study was to determine changes in coagulation and fibrinolysis in horses that underwent colic surgery and to evaluate whether these changes were secondary to the colic or the surgery and wound healing.

Thirty horses that underwent colic surgery with uncomplicated recovery were included. Ten horses with a Forssell's procedure served as control group with a standardized surgical trauma. Besides daily physical examinations during the observation period of 10 days, activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time and thrombin time as well as fibrin monomer (FM), D-Dimer (DD) and antithrombin (AT) III were determined.

Compared with the control group the aPTT was the only standard coagulation test that was significantly prolonged before and after the event of colic surgery. After surgery, hyperfibrinogenaemia occurred in all groups. In colic groups FM and DD concentrations were within reference range at admission, and were significantly greater than in control horses after surgery. AT III activity decreased after colic surgery, but did not change in the control group. It was concluded that an activated coagulation state after colic surgery has to be expected, resulting not only from the colic disease, but also from the event of surgery.