• horse;
  • colic;
  • colon;
  • flunixin meglumine;
  • NSAIDs;
  • ischaemia;
  • recovery


Reasons for performing study: The effects of prostaglandins and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on repair of equine intestinal mucosa are important since most horses with gastrointestinal diseases are routinely treated with NSAIDs, such as flunixin meglumine (FM), and these drugs can be toxic to equine gastrointestinal mucosa.

Hypothesis: Flunixin meglumine would not affect recovery of equine colonic mucosa in vitro, 18 h after a reversible ischaemic injury.

Methods: In 14 anaesthetised horses, a segment of pelvic flexure was subjected to 2 h of ischaemia and the horses were allowed to recover for 18 h. Seven horses received normal saline and 7 received FM, 1.1 mg/kg bwt i.v., at the end of ischaemia and 12 h later. Colonic mucosa was harvested during a second anaesthesia, 18 h after recovery from ischaemia and then horses were subjected to euthanasia. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) and transepithelial flux of tritiated mannitol were used to measure mucosal permeability during 4 h of incubation in Ussing chambers, with the following in vitro treatments: 1) no addition, 2) FM 14 µmol/l as powder, 3) FM 14 µmol/l in injectable form and 4) diluent for injectable FM. Histomorphological changes were assessed by light microscopy.

Results: There were no significant differences in any of the measurements between saline and FM treated horses. The mucosal height of the ischaemic FM tissues incubated in diluent was significantly decreased compared to the nonischaemic tissues.

Conclusions: Flunixin meglumine did not adversely affect barrier integrity in ischaemic equine colonic mucosa.