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Equine Vet J. 2009 Feb;41(2):149-52.

Short-term anaesthesia with xylazine, diazepam/ketamine for castration in horses under field conditions: use of intravenous lidocaine.

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Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.



Lidocaine single boluses and/or constant rate infusions are commonly administered intraoperatively during inhalant anaesthesia to lower inhalant concentrations, promote or maintain gastrointestinal motility, and potentially supplement analgesia. The benefits of using lidocaine with injectable anaesthesia for field surgeries has not been fully explored to determine advantages and disadvantages of lidocaine as an anaesthetic and analgesic adjunct in these conditions and impact on recovery quality.


To evaluate the use of systemic lidocaine with a standard field injectable anaesthetic protocol related to the need for additional drug administration as well as overall recovery score and quality.


The administration of systemic lidocaine with xylazine-diazepam/ketamine anaesthesia for castration in the field decreases the need for additional injectable doses required for maintenance, but prolong and potentially impact the overall recovery score and quality in horses.


Thirty client-owned horses underwent standard injectable anaesthesia for field castration. Fifteen horses received lidocaine 3 mg/kg bwt, i.v. as a single bolus, and 15 received saline equal volume. The horses were monitored for the need for additional injectable anaesthetics and scored for overall recovery and quality by a blinded anaesthetist.


There were no statistically significant differences in the overall recovery score and quality, or need for additional injectable anaesthetic between horses receiving lidocaine and those receiving saline. There was a significantly longer time for the horses to stand after induction in the lidocaine group (mean 30.7 min) vs. saline group (mean 22.5 min) (P<0.04).


Lidocaine, 3 mg/kg bwt i.v., does not adversely affect recovery using injectable field regimes, but the overall recovery period was longer. Lidocaine does not appear to reduce the need for additional injectable administration during surgery.


Further research is warranted to define the benefit of systemic lidocaine with field anaesthesia in horses by exploring the ideal dose and plasma level of lidocaine with injectable anaesthesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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