Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS) is an infrequent, but extremely serious complication of long-term peritoneal dialysis. The cause of EPS is unclear, but the low incidence suggests that it is most likely multifactorial. The elucidation of developmental pathways and predictive markers of EPS would facilitate the identification and management of high-risk patients. Animal models are often used to define pathways of disease progression and to test strategies for treatment and prevention in the patient population. Ideally such models could help to define the cause of EPS and its developmental pathways, to facilitate the identification of contributing factors and predictive markers, and to provide a system to test therapeutic strategies. Researchers have studied several rodent models of EPS that rely on chronic chemical irritation (for example, bleach, low-pH solution, chlorhexidine gluconate) to induce peritoneal sclerosis and abdominal encapsulation. Development in all models is progressive, with inflammation giving way to peritoneal fibrosis or sclerosis with accumulating membrane damage, culminating in cocoon formation. Microscopic findings are similar to those proposed as diagnostic criteria for clinical EPS: an initial inflammatory infiltrate and submesothelial thickening, collagen deposition, and activation and proliferation of peritoneal fibroblasts. The potential to block progression of peritoneal sclerosis in these models by anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, and anti-angiogenic agents, and by inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system have been demonstrated. Animal models based on clinically relevant risk factors (for example, uremia, peritonitis, and long-term exposure to dialysis solutions) now represent the next step in model development.