[en] Gastrointestinal disorders in horses leading to endotoxic shock could have further consequences on other splanchnic organs such as the pancreas, as can be seen in humans suffering from septic shock. In this study, the range of enzymatically active trypsin (EAT) in healthy horses was established and is similar to the range observed in healthy humans. EAT values were determined in horses with acute abdominal crises on admission as well as during anaesthesia and in the postoperative phase. A significant increase in plasma EAT was found in 59% of the horses with surgical colic when compared to our established reference range. Significantly higher values were found in severe shock cases. When separated in groups according to the duration of colic before referral, significantly higher EAT values were observed in the non-survivor group compared to the survivor group of colics of short duration. EAT plasma values increased significantly during the postoperative phase, and were significantly higher in small intestine obstructions than in large bowel disorders. In human medicine, hypovolaemic or septic shock patients show an increase in pancreatic proteases. Splanchnic hypoperfusion during shock could lead to pancreatic damage resulting in trypsin liberation into the peritoneal space and an increase in plasma levels. Trypsin is able to activate inflammatory cascades and leucocytes and could play a role in multiple organ failure. Further studies are needed to evaluate the implications of changes in plasma trypsin in the disease process of equine acute abdomen and to demonstrate possible pancreatic damage.