Anesthesia Care for Your Horse

care horseAfter your horse has settled into the hospital environment, it is evaluated by one of our experienced veterinarians and/or certified veterinary technicians. This includes: evaluation of the heart, lungs, temperature, attitude, bloodwork and body condition.

Your horse will be held off of feed the night prior to surgery to avoid anesthetic complications. The morning of surgery, your horse’s heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature and weight are taken. A jugular catheter is then placed for administration of fluids, antibiotics, sedation and/or induction drugs.

Once your horse is carefully anesthetized with intravenous drugs, they are intubated with an endotracheal tube for ventilation purposes during surgery. Your horse is then hoisted into our surgery suite. Your horse is maintained under general anesthesia using Sevoflurane Gas, the same gas most commonly used in human surgeries. We use Sevo here at Littleton Equine because it is the safest gas anesthetic for horses. It allows us to closely regulate the depth of anesthesia while maintaining good blood pressure, something that is critical for our equine patients given their size and weight.

Your horse is monitored in surgery with state of the art equipment and recorded parameters include heart rate, respiratory rate, saturated oxygen levels, end tidal carbon dioxide levels, tidal volume and/or blood gases. An arterial catheter is placed in the mandibular artery or the metatarsal artery for monitoring of direct blood pressure.

During recovery, your horse is placed in a padded room with a head rope, tail rope, and leg wraps. Every recovery is assisted and free flowing oxygen is delivered in recovery through their endotracheal tube. A towel is placed over their eyes to keep stimulation to a minimum. Once your horse begins to wake up, the endotracheal tube is removed, and our experienced staff will assist the process of your horse standing up.

When your horse is standing and walking around the recovery stall well, they are taken to our “Larsh Barn” or elective barn. Our trained staff of veterinary technicians continue to monitor your horse around the clock until they return home.