Induction of general anaesthesia by blowpipe darting in a fractious companion horse

25 Jul 2018

Diez Bernal, S., Lanz, S., Schmutz, I., Leeb, T., Spadavecchia, C.

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A fractious nine-year-old, 520-kg, neutered Swiss Warmblood was presented with a history of anorexia, progressive weight loss and mild hindlimb lameness. Because of its temperament, standard physical examination was considered to be only feasible under general anaesthesia. For safety reasons, general anaesthesia was planned to be induced by blowpipe darting. Two attempts are described and discussed in the present report. The first attempt, using a combination of medetomidine and tiletamine-zolazepam, was unsuccessful. Conversely, detomidine combined with butorphanol, followed by a second dart of detomidine and tiletamine-zolazepam, proved to be adequate to induce anaesthesia. Factors that could have influenced the outcome, such as different therapeutic approach, drug protocol and dosages, stress level, or genetic mutations, are presented and discussed.