• horse;
  • exploratory celiotomy;
  • antibacterial suture material;
  • incisional complications


Reasons for performing study: Incisional complications are a major post operative challenge following ventral midline exploratory celiotomy for abdominal pain in horses. They lead to discomfort, prolonged hospitalisation, longer recovery times and increased cost; therefore, investigation of preventative procedures are warranted.

Objectives: To determine the clinical effect of antibacterial (triclosan) coated 2-0 polyglactin 910 suture material on the likelihood of incisional infections when used for closure of subcutaneous tissue following ventral midline celiotomies in horses.

Methods: One hundred horses undergoing exploratory celiotomy assigned at random to one of 2 groups. In the control group coated 2-0 polyglactin 910 (Vicryl) was used for apposition of the subcutaneous tissue in a simple continuous pattern and, in the study group, antibacterial (triclosan) coated 2-0 polyglactin 910 suture material (Vicryl Plus) was used. Post operatively an elastic adhesive abdominal bandage was applied, changed and the incision was inspected by a clinician blinded to the study protocol at 24–36 h and 6–9 days post operatively. Outcomes of interest were evidence of incisional pain, incisional oedema, sheath/udder oedema, incisional drainage, hernia formation and dehiscence.

Results: Antibacterial-coated suture material did not decrease the likelihood of incisional complications in 100 horses.

Conclusions: A beneficial effect on ventral midline incisions in 100 horses was not evident by using antibacterial-coated suture material.

Potential relevance: Lack of effectiveness of antibacterial-coated suture material in equine ventral midline closure after exploratory celiotomy and the observed potential adverse effects suggest that further clinical investigations are needed before using such material routinely on horses.