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Equine Vet J. 2010 Sep;42(6):487-93. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00104.x.

The use of sedatives, analgesic and anaesthetic drugs in the horse: an electronic survey of members of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, USA.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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