General anaesthesia in horses *H&H Plus*

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    This article has been edited and approved by Karen Coumbe MRCVS, H&H’s veterinary advisor since 1991.
  • The decision to put a horse under a general anaesthetic should not be taken lightly as one in every 100 healthy horses will not survive the procedure or the seven days that follow surgery

    General anaesthesia in horses: Risks | Preparation | Five stages of anaesthesia | Pain control | Post-anaesthesia care

    When a horse has to undergo anything beyond minor standing surgery, which can be achieved under heavy sedation, a general anaesthetic is required so that the animal is safely immobilised, unconscious and provided with suitable pain relief throughout the procedure.

    While the challenges associated with placing a horse under general anaesthesia should not be under-estimated as the risks associated with it are significant, there has been a notable increase in the knowledge, equipment and medications available to anaesthetise horses safely in recent years. This allows veterinary teams to successfully perform much more complicated procedures, such as colic surgery and repair certain fractures, than was previously possible.

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