Dressage Glock's Zonik dies unexpectedly

Ample Prosecco

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That is so tragic. A friend lost a horse after a routine eye operation because he would not get up after GA. Strikes me as bizarre that these post GA deaths can happen. I am sure a vet can explain why, but I can't fathom how healthy horses can die like that. :(:(:(
 

Caol Ila

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Had a friend who's horse panicked after waking up from GA, broke its leg, and had to be euthed. It's so sad.

I was reading a vet med journal article (can't remember why) about GA-related deaths in the horses. The takeaway message was that they have reduced in the last 20 years with better drugs, protocols, etc., but remain at significantly higher numbers than other animals, including us. There's no way around the fundamental problem of their size and flight response. The majority of horses can cope with the modern anesthetics they use, but it's the panicking upon returning to consciousness that leads to a lot of these tragic deaths. The vet who finds a way to reliably bring any horse around slowly and safely will be very rich.
 

Ample Prosecco

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I guess they can kick themselves even in a hoist. But a safer environment plus sedation to take over once the GA wears off seems like it should be possible. Hopefully they will find a way. It's heart breaking and seems so unnecessary.
 

Maddie Moo

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very sad for all concerned, you would think with an explosive type of horse they could somehow hoist him upright after the GA, its about time there was an answer to this problem..
Personally I think the best option is the recovery pool, where if they do thrash around then the water supports their weight etc. They used it with Barbaro (& many others) in the States but I think they’re very rare to find in vet clinics internationally.
 

splashgirl45

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MM i hadnt heard of that, sounds like a good idea, a friend of mine lost her 7 year old after a routine op on his leg, she was devastated as it was such a shock. if it had been colic surgery she felt that she would have been more prepared..
 

scats

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Such sad news. It always nerve wracking waiting for the call to tell you they are up safely after surgery.
 

druid

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GA recoveries in horses are inherently dangerous - the majority panic when the come around and are prone. Those who have multiple GAs (joint flushes, multiple arthroscopies etc) tend to be very calm from the second time on - in fact there's some you have to encourage to get up from their nice snooze on the mats!

Even with a fully controlled roped recovery with two experienced handlers things can go wrong - you're making decisions in split seconds and often there comes a point when holding down a 600kg horse isn't physically possible and you have to let them try even if you feel they're not 100% ready to get up (resedating can have it's own issues). I was lucky that all my equine anaestehsia was at a clinic with the guy who literally wrote the book on equine anaesthesia....he didn't advocate pools, just roped recoveries and specialist sand/straw boxes for limb injuries. Their in clinic GA mortality and complication stats were significantly lower than the average in the literature.
 

Birker2020

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Mortality under/coming round from anaesthesia is 1 to 1.5 in every 100. Shocking stats really.
https://thehorse.com/188779/equine-anesthesia-deaths-remain-high-risk-factors-identified/#:~:text=Horses undergoing general anesthesia die,deaths per 100 anesthetized horses.

My first horse aged 14 had 3 GA's in under 3 weeks and each time they told me they'd had a harder time bringing him round in recovery. I arrived the one day to find them bringing him round, becauseit was such a warm September day all the windows and doors were open and as i sat in reception i could hear them slapping him on the shoulder and calling his name to bring him round.

When he was eventually stood up they let me climb the ladder which leant on the exterior of the padded box and look over the top. He was stood there splayed legs and on hearing my voice peered up at me.

It was a surreal experience. That was in Sept 1997. They wouldn't let you do that now.
 
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TGM

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What a tragedy. We lost a horse in similar circumstances quite a few years ago. Went into equine hospital for tooth removal under standing sedation. They couldn't get the tooth out that way so gave him a GA. Broke his shoulder coming round and had to be euthanized. Such a shock.
 

SOS

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I think people are forgetting horses are prey animals where as your dog and cat and human are not. Their instinct is flight. They wake up and things feel weird and in their mind to survive they must get out of it NOW.

They also have a gastrointestinal system that stops working if they don’t have regular food. Hence the high cases of post GA colic even with supportive meds.

I did hear of a clinic that had started bringing them round in a hoist in a pool to hopefully lessen any harm.

FWIW rabbits are biologically very similar to horses and are a nightmare to GA too. Albeit more controllable as they are much smaller.
 

conniegirl

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Ive never had a horse under GA. though i did discuss it with a vet and he did say that in his experience rhe native ponies and ID types tended to be the safer ones to bring round from GA as they seem less inclined to panic and get up before they should.
 

druid

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Ive never had a horse under GA. though i did discuss it with a vet and he did say that in his experience rhe native ponies and ID types tended to be the safer ones to bring round from GA as they seem less inclined to panic and get up before they should.
Standard breds have them beaten - they're by far and away the best behaved. TBs...less said the better unless they are frequent fliers. Broodmares tend to be good, they're used to/have experienced pain/being prone and just don't panic the same way
 
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Standard breds have them beaten - they're by far and away the best behaved. TBs...less said the better unless they are frequent fliers. Broodmares tend to be good, they're used to/have experienced pain/being prone and just don't panic the same way
Gosh - that's really interesting.

One of mine is a TB :(
 

honetpot

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My pony was sedated in a veterinary hospital for a castration, and he has never been the same since, the change was apparent as soon as I got him home, and he has never improved. I have some experience of sedative and anaesthetic drugs effects in humans, and its effects are a bit like alcohol, different cocktails can cause different reactions, sedation is tricky because some people can be aware, I am a fighter if not fully under.
What annoyed me is when I tried to discuss it with the vet, basically, it was highly unlikely, and they couldn't tell me what they had given him and how much. If I had him sedated at home, you get an itemised bill, and I could have seen the effect myself. Now unless it was something like major surgery I would never let be admitted even as a day case.
Accidents happen, I know a horse that broke its leg in 12x16 stable overnight, it managed to get up and was stood at the stable door in the morning, and for complex surgery they need to give them a GA or heavy sedation, but I do not think the side effects are often fully discussed.
I just hope it was quick for the horse, and they still had an IV line in.
 

A mule in a manger

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My pony was sedated in a veterinary hospital for a castration, and he has never been the same since, the change was apparent as soon as I got him home, and he has never improved. I have some experience of sedative and anaesthetic drugs effects in humans, and its effects are a bit like alcohol, different cocktails can cause different reactions, sedation is tricky because some people can be aware, I am a fighter if not fully under.
What annoyed me is when I tried to discuss it with the vet, basically, it was highly unlikely, and they couldn't tell me what they had given him and how much. If I had him sedated at home, you get an itemised bill, and I could have seen the effect myself. Now unless it was something like major surgery I would never let be admitted even as a day case.
Accidents happen, I know a horse that broke its leg in 12x16 stable overnight, it managed to get up and was stood at the stable door in the morning, and for complex surgery they need to give them a GA or heavy sedation, but I do not think the side effects are often fully discussed.
I just hope it was quick for the horse, and they still had an IV line in.
In what way has he not been the same?
 

Wishfilly

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It sounds so, so tragic. I think vet medicine is improving all the time, and hopefully one day things will be safer.

I have a friend who works in zoos, and their zoo has unfortunately lost three zebras (not all at once) after general anaesthetics. I think for me, it would have to be life vs death or vs no quality of life to consider it.

As others have said, the risks are greater with small, panic prone herbivores too.
 

NinjaPony

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Absolutely devastating for everyone involved with the horse. What a tragedy, an owners worst nightmare. It’s really alarming how frequently this happens still and that we don’t seem any closer to a solution.
 
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