Standing Fast: Standing Surgeries for Horses
Surgeons can perform an increasing number of procedures on standing sedated horses
A horse lies on a massive surgical table, blue drapes covering much of his body and surgical scrub booties over his hooves. Anesthesia equipment hums as the surgical team works efficiently and expertly in their various roles to complete a procedure. This is the classic equine surgery scenario, which is necessary for most colic cases and a variety of other procedures.
However, there are many surgeries that can be performed in the standing horse. From simple castrations to more complex procedures such as ovary removal and repair of simple fractures, researchers are recognizing the benefits of standing surgeries and, say our sources, pursuing them more frequently. In any type of surgery, a variety of circumstances dictates which approach—standing or recumbent (lying down)—a veterinarian will choose.
Regardless of the species, general anesthesia (induced, controlled complete loss of consciousness) has its risks, primarily associated with side effects of the drugs used to keep the patient unconscious. Because of their size and their nature, horses face even greater risks, say our sources.
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