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Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract. 2008 Dec;24(3):735-52, x. doi: 10.1016/j.cveq.2008.10.002.

Complications in equine anesthesia.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


General anesthesia of horses entails considerable risk of morbidity and mortality. A large-scale, multicenter study reported that the death rate from non-colic-related anesthetics was 0.9%, while the perianesthetic mortality rate at a single, busy equine surgical practice was somewhat more favorable, at 0.12%. While any perianesthetic death is devastating, mortality figures alone do not reflect the overall morbidity of equine anesthesia in terms of nonterminal events or injuries related to recovery. In some circumstances, recognition of perianesthetic complications may allow appropriate intervention to prevent the complication from worsening or progressing to mortality. This article describes some of the complications that may occur during and after general anesthesia of horses, and suggests ways to prevent or mitigate them.

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