The effect of intraperitoneal sodium carboxymethylcellulose (SCMC) administration on clinical outcome and survival was evaluated in horses undergoing exploratory celiotomy for acute gastrointestinal disease. Comparison of variables was made retrospectively between 44 horses that had SCMC and 92 horses (controls) not treated with SCMC. Mean age, body weight, heart rate, packed cell volume and plasma total protein of horses at admission, and convalescent period were not significantly different between control and SCMC groups. No significant differences were noted between control horses and SCMC horses with respect to incisional infection, hernia formation, recurrent episodes of colic, clinical outcome, and long-term survival (>6 months). Seventy-six (83%) control horses and 34 (77%) SCMC horses survived long-term. Seventy (76%) control horses and 30 (68%) SCMC horses survived without complications and returned to their previous use. These results suggest that intraperitoneal use of SCMC does not adversely affect abdominal incisional wound healing, clinical outcome or long-term survival, however, the efficacy of SCMC in prevention of postoperative intestinal adhesions in horses requires further investigation.