Experience with a horse going under general anaesthesic

Kizzy2004

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Hello all

My friends horse is going in for a procedure to her tendon stealth next week and she’s just been told it’s going to be done under GA.

Horse is 22 so friend is obviously concerned and the vets haven’t run through the risks involved.

She’s quiet happy to retire the horse but chose the procedure to see if she could maybe come sound again but is happy to retire her from ridden work if needed.

I don’t have any direct experience of putting a horse under GA but understand a bit of the process.

Does anyone have any experience good or bad of putting a horse under GA?

Thanks in advance
 

j1ffy

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I've never had an issue and the vast majority of people I know haven't either. The only tragic case I personally knew of was a friend who lost her yearling when he went under for an OCD operation.

There is always a risk with GA for a large animal and generally vets won't recommend a surgery under GA unless they think there is a good chance of the surgery being successful, but regardless your friend should ask them to talk her through the treatment options and risk of each.
 

Sealine

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I've only had one put under GA. It was check ligament surgery over 10 years ago. There were no problems with the GA. The op was not successful as the horse did not remain sound during rehab despite all protocols being observed to the letter.
 

milliepops

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I've had 2 go under GA, one was fine but a bit tucked up and moody afterwards and the other had a difficult recovery but is doing fine now.
A friend lost one while it was getting up but it's a fairly rare event in general.
My vets always go over the risks again when getting the consent at admission.
 

maya2008

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I’ve had one go under GA - she was only 13 though and recovered fine. Was for a similar op to your friend’s horse and the op made all the difference.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would have expected the vet to go through all the pros and cons for a 22 yr old with the condition and ask the owner's opinion about the way to go. The final decision should be the owner's, especially as they are paying the bill. If the horse would be comfortable enough retired without the operation, the vet should have offered that option for consideration.
 

Birker2020

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Hello all

My friends horse is going in for a procedure to her tendon stealth next week and she’s just been told it’s going to be done under GA.

Horse is 22 so friend is obviously concerned and the vets haven’t run through the risks involved.

She’s quiet happy to retire the horse but chose the procedure to see if she could maybe come sound again but is happy to retire her from ridden work if needed.

I don’t have any direct experience of putting a horse under GA but understand a bit of the process.

Does anyone have any experience good or bad of putting a horse under GA?

Thanks in advance
I have heard from vets that a horses age is not a major consideration when putting horses under GA.
However repeated GA's in a short space of time such as my 14 year old experienced (3 times in 3 weeks) certainly made it harder for him to come round afterwards.

I actually watched a programme called 'Animal ER' the other day in which a film crew filmed a horse coming round from a GA in a padded box using a rope pulley system, it was very interesting. I believe this is in wider use nowadays to prevent a half anaethetised horse panicking when trying to get up.

this video they didn't use chains but they did use some kind of assisted recovery

 

AandK

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Both my horses have had ops under GA. My 25yo had one age 18 (annular ligament desmotomy), vet at the time said his age was not a consideration as he was fit and healthy. He did have a seizure coming round, but responded quickly to meds, although vet advised not to put him under again.
My 9yo had one as a 6yo in 2019 (hock arthroscopy), he had a couple of post op issues, tail nerve damage and an impaction colic. He then had to have another op late 2020 (keratoma) and we put measures in place to ensure he didn't have the same issues; extra fluids before the op and no assisted recovery (possibly the issue with his tail was caused by the rope pully they use to help them get up), he had no issues that time round.
 

scats

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I’ve put several through GA and all have been absolutely fine. My most sharp and ridiculous horse had two surgeries and he always amazed the anaesthetist with his calm and sensible behaviour in the recovery room. He’d sit up, have a look around and then when he felt stable enough, he’d get to his feet.
 

Kizzy2004

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Thanks everyone.

My friend was a bit taken aback as the vet never mentioned GA and she only found out when arranging the drop off time with the hospital receptionist and it was mentioned then. She’s speaking with vet on Monday to run through the procedure and will take it from there.
 

nagblagger

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I too am surprised that the vet has not discussed the whole procedure with your friend, including the risks involved and the likelihood of it being successful. At that age, as long as he was comfortable and I could afford to keep a retired horse, I may question whether I would put him through surgery with the risks and rehab involved. That decision can only be made when ALL the facts are known.
Could they do it under sedation and standing?
I have had many undergo a Ga,with no problems including an elderly gelding. Speaking to the vets, and witnessing it first-hand, when the horse 'comes round' it is one of the most riskiest time of the whole procedure, that is why they have a rope and pulley system to support the animal when getting up so they do not stagger into the padded wall or fall awkwardly.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Thanks everyone.

My friend was a bit taken aback as the vet never mentioned GA and she only found out when arranging the drop off time with the hospital receptionist and it was mentioned then. She’s speaking with vet on Monday to run through the procedure and will take it from there.

What?????
 

Melody Grey

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I’ve had a couple go under GA in the past for procedures that would now be done standing. No problems to report. I agree with others that age is not necessarily a problem unless there are heart/ lung conditions. Definitely would expect the vets to outline the risks though, at any age.
 

Sussexbythesea

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My then 19 yr old had tendon / annular ligament surgery and came through it absolutely fine although the day he came home he got a little colicky so I had the vet come out and a shot of Bute and buscopan sorted it. I worried terribly about it beforehand and wondered if I was being selfish to risk it and should just retire him.

My vet wasn’t particularly forthcoming with information either but I eventually managed to make an appointment with him to discuss all the risks. I was advised that the surgery wasn’t a greater risk in an older horse provided it was otherwise healthy.

He’s 27 this year and is still sound enough to ride, won a veteran Championship last year and he’s really lively and full of it so it was a good outcome for him and I.
 

rara007

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My pony was castrated under GA last month, no issues.
She really needs to talk to the vet. There’s many different drug combos, recovery set-ups and horse factors to consider to get much useful into from generally asking about.
 

Steerpike

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I've had a horse go under GA 3 times for 3 different things, was absolutely fine each time. Of your friend is worried she needs to chat to the vet.
 
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