Comparison between head-tail-rope assisted and unassisted recoveries in healthy horses undergoing general anesthesia for elective surgeries
OBJECTIVE:To compare attempts to stand, duration, quality, and occurrence of injuries between head-tail rope assistance and unassisted recoveries in healthy horses undergoing general anesthesia for elective surgeries. STUDY DESIGN:Randomized, prospective, clinical trial. METHODS:Three hundred one healthy horses undergoing elective surgeries were randomly assigned to recover with head-tail rope assistance (group A) or unassisted (group U); 305 recoveries (group A, n = 154; group U, n = 151) were analyzed. Anesthesia was maintained with isoflurane and triple drip. For each recovery, attempts to stand, duration, quality, and recovery-associated injuries were recorded. Data were analyzed by linear regression and analysis of covariance. RESULTS:Anesthesia duration was similar between groups (mean ± SD, 70 ± 29 minutes). Compared with group U, group A had fewer attempts to stand (median [range], group A = 1 [1-7] vs group U = 3 [1-34]) and shorter duration of recovery (mean ± SD, A = 36 ± 12 minutes vs U = 41 ± 15 minutes). Recovery quality in group A (28 points [15-70]) was better than that in group U (38 points [11-87]). More horses had recovery-associated injuries in group U (9 horses) compared with group A (2 horses). One horse per group was euthanized. CONCLUSION:Head-tail rope assistance reduced standing attempts, shortened recovery duration, improved recovery quality, and reduced recovery-associated minor injuries after general anesthesia for elective surgery in healthy horses. Fatalities could not be prevented. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE:Head-tail rope assistance may improve recovery in healthy horses after short-duration elective surgeries with isoflurane and triple drip.