General Information about Anaesthesia

If your horse needs a surgical procedure to be performed it will require an anaesthetic of some description. This may be local anaesthetic where the animal is otherwise conscious or more involved procedures will require a general anaesthetic.

Local anaesthetics work by numbing the area to be worked on. These will usually be used for more simple procedures such as stitching cuts, wounds, castration and simple investigative procedures. Sedation may be required as well as a local anaesthetic and these agents work to calm your horse.

A general anaesthetic however will mean that your horse will be completely unconscious. General anaesthesia is used for more complicated procedures, where the animal needs to be particularly still or where clean conditions are required, or ones which are particularly painful and so require the horse to be completely unaware of what is going on. As with any anaesthetic there are risks and your veterinary surgeon will be able to discuss these with you.

There are certain things, which you can do to ensure that your horse will have the safest possible anaesthetic. Prior to surgery ensure that all relevant medications have been given and that you have followed the advice of your veterinary surgeon in regards to feeding, water and exercise. It is important that the stable or paddock is clean and that fresh bedding is provided so the animal is not covered in mud before the operation. Following the surgery, your vet will also give you detailed instructions on the feeding and exercise of your horse. They will also give you advice on what to watch out for and any signs of problems such as swelling at the surgical site.