• Open Access

Heparin: A Review of its Pharmacology and Therapeutic Use in Horses

Authors

  • Bonnie Rush Moore,

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L. Tharp St, Columbus, OH
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    • 2

      Dept of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506–5606

  • Kenneth W. Hinchcliff

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L. Tharp St, Columbus, OH
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Abstract

Heparin is used clinically in horses to treat hemostatic abnormalities associated with severe gastrointestinal disease, septicemia, and endotoxemia. The primary anticoagulant effect of heparin is through the suppression of thrombin-dependent amplification of the coagulation cascade, and inhibition of thrombin-mediated conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Heparin may be of benefit in preventing the complications associated with hypercoagulable states such as jugular vein thrombosis, laminitis, and organ failure. Heparin may also be beneficial in the prevention of intraabdominal adhesions after gastrointestinal surgery, and in amelioration of hemodynamic abnormalities associated with endotoxic shock. Because a sequential rise in serumheparin concentration occurs during a uniform dosage regimen, a decreasing dosage regimen is recommended. The initial dose recommended is 150 U heparin/kg body weight subcutaneously, followed by 125 U heparin/kg body weight subcutaneously, every 12 hours for six doses. The dose should be decreased to 100 U heparin/kg body weight subcutaneously, every 12 hours, after the seventh dose. Anemia, hemorrhage, thrombocytopenia, and painful swelling at injection sites are complications of heparin administration in horses.

Ancillary