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A retrospective report (2003–2013) of the complications associated with the use of a one-man (head and tail) rope recovery system in horses following general anaesthesia

Niimura del Barrio, Maria Chie, David, Florent, Hughes, J. M. Lynne, Clifford, David, Wilderjans, Hans, Bennett, Rachel
Irish veterinary journal 2018 v.71 no.1 pp. 6
anesthesia, head, horses, humans, medical records, mortality, musculoskeletal system, orthopedics, patients, retrospective studies, risk reduction, sedation, surgery, tail, Belgium
BACKGROUND: The mortality rate of horses undergoing general anaesthesia is high when compared to humans or small animal patients. One of the most critical periods during equine anaesthesia is recovery, as the horse attempts to regain a standing position. This study was performed in a private equine practice in Belgium that uses a purpose-designed one-man (head and tail) rope recovery system to assist the horse during the standing process. The main purpose of the retrospective study was to report and analyse complications and the mortality rate in horses during recovery from anaesthesia using the described recovery system. Information retrieved from the medical records included patient signalment, anaesthetic protocol, duration of anaesthesia, ASA grade, type of surgery, recovery time and complications during recovery. Sedation was administered to all horses prior to recovery with the rope system. Complications were divided into major complications in which the horse was euthanized and minor complications where the horse survived. Major complications were further subdivided into those where the rope system did not contribute to the recovery complication (Group 1) and those where it was not possible to determine if the rope system was of any benefit (Group 2). RESULTS: Five thousand eight hundred fifty two horses recovered from general anaesthesia with rope assistance. Complications were identified in 30 (0.51%). Major complications occurred in 12 horses (0.20%) of which three (0.05%) were assigned to Group 1 and nine (0.15%) to Group 2. Three horses in Group 2 suffered musculoskeletal injuries (0.05%). Eighteen horses (0.31%) suffered minor complications, of which five (0.08%) were categorised as failures of the recovery system. CONCLUSIONS: This study reports the major and minor complication and mortality rate during recovery from anaesthesia using a specific type of rope recovery system. Mortality associated with the rope recovery system was low. During recovery from anaesthesia this rope system may reduce the risk of lethal complications, particularly major orthopaedic injuries.