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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • survey;
  • sedation;
  • anaesthesia;
  • analgesia

Summary

Reasons for performing study: To determine the sedative, analgesic and anaesthetic drugs and techniques that are used by equine veterinarians.

Hypothesis or objectives: To provide equine veterinarians with information concerning veterinary use of anaesthetic techniques, a reflection of the collective experiences of the profession.

Methods: A survey was conducted of those members of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) with an electronic mail address on file with the organisation using proprietary, web-based software. The survey was comprised of 30 questions divided into 8 sections: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; local anaesthesia; alternative techniques; standing chemical restraint; epidural anaesthesia; short-term anaesthesia; long-term anaesthesia; and a place for the respondent to make comments.

Results: The response rate was 13.8% (952/6911) AAEP member veterinarians primarily use phenylbutazone and flunixin as anti-inflammatory drugs, and lidocaine and mepivacaine for local anaesthesia. Combinations of drugs are preferred for standing chemical restraint. While many veterinarians frequently utilise short-term anaesthesia, longer anaesthesia is less frequently performed.

Conclusions: Most AAEP member veterinarians use sedatives in combination to provide standing chemical restraint. Extra-label use of drugs is a core component of current equine sedation and anaesthetic practice.

Potential relevance: Equine veterinarians can compare their choices of anaesthetic drugs with others practising equine medicine and surgery and may be stimulated to investigate alternative methods of providing comfort to horses.