Dissolving Enteroliths in Horses with Coke

Coca-Cola has a low pH similar to gastric juices, and the enzymes of papain and cellulase potentiate its dissolving effect on enteroliths.

Enteroloths can possibly be dissolved using coke.
Courtesy UC Davis Center for Equine Health

In some areas, enteroliths can be a common cause of colic and subsequent intestinal surgery. Besides dietary management, veterinarians have tried nutritional components to help with dissolution of these mineralized salts. A Brazilian study compared multiple products in vitro to see if any substance has the potential to help manage enteroliths. [Gil, S.A.V.; Marulanda, J.J.P.; Aranzales, J.R.M. In vitro evaluation of the dissolving effect of carbonated beverages (Coca-Cola) and enzyme-based solutions on enteroliths obtained from horses: pilot study Braz J Vet Res Anim Sci. 2021; 58:e182579; doi.org/10.11606/ issn.1678-4456.bjvras.2021.182579]

The study obtained enteroliths rom horses undergoing celiotomy for their removal. Six fragments of the most compact surface of six enteroliths were studied. The study used six different formulations of carbonated drinks and enzyme-composed solutions in vitro at a pH of 7.1 to simulate a typical intestinal environment. Once immersed, each fragment was evaluated for disintegration at times 0, 3, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72 hours: T1: Coca-Cola; T2: Coca-Cola Zero; T3: Distilled water + papain and cellulase; T4: Coca-Cola + papain and cellulase; T5: Coca-Cola Zero + papain + cellulase; T6: Distilled water as control.

All treatments maximally disintegrated at 72 hours, with T4, T5 and T1 having the highest percentage of disaggregation. T5 had the greatest statistical difference.

Coca-Cola has a low pH (2.6), similar to gastric juices. The enzymes of papain and cellulase potentiate the dissolving effect of the carbonated solution on enteroliths. This info might be helpful in conducting future trials on managing equine enteroliths.

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