This study investigated the effectiveness of near infrared (NIR) spectrophotometry for measuring abdominal saturation in a rat model of induced mesenteric ischemia. This was a randomized, controlled, non-blinded interventional animal study. Twenty-eight male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly allocated into four groups. Following induction of anesthesia, the abdominal region was shaved and intra-abdominal access was achieved through a 4-cm midline incision and basal measurements were performed using an INVOS-5100c device. The rats were grouped on the basis of rSO2 measurement times. Mesenteric artery ligation was not performed on the control group rats. From the rest of the mesenteric artery ligated rats, measurements were taken at 30 min, at 2 h and at 6 h. Measurements were repeated using NIR spectrophotometry probes after the abdomen was surgically closed. Following the measurements, the abdomen was re-opened and small intestine tissue specimens were taken for histopathological examination. Initial and final NIR spectrophotometry measurements were compared. No statistically significant difference was found in the group 1 between basal rSO2 values and post-incision values (p = 0.748). There was a significant variation between the initial and final measurements in groups 2, 3, and 4 (p = 0.018). Although various radiological or biochemical markers are available for detecting mesenteric ischemia, the use of NIR spectrophotometry can be considered a good non-invasive alternative method for early diagnosis of acute mesenteric ischemia.