Equine post operative ileus: A review of current thinking on pathophysiology and management

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Equine post operative ileus (POI) is a serious post surgical complication in the horse, with a significant fatality rate. Despite the ongoing debate with regard to both the clinical definition of equine POI and the optimal management of this condition, there is increasing awareness and acceptance, supported by scientific research, that inflammation plays a key role in its pathophysiology. This review aims to outline the current thinking on the pathophysiology and management of this condition, with reference to the published literature on equine, rodent and human POI. Although studies conducted in other species are likely to provide an abundant source of information with potentially useful translational applications for the equine condition, such an approach needs to be cognisant of potential interspecies differences both in the pathogenesis of the condition and in basic gastrointestinal physiology.

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