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Outcome of epidural catheterization for delivery of analgesics in horses: 43 cases (1998–2001)

Christine A. MartinDepartment of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.
Present address is Animal Hospital of Stoney Creek, Stoney Creek, ON, Canada L8G 1J2.

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Carolyn L. KerrDepartment of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.

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Simon G. PearceDepartment of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.
Present address is The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, NSW 2006.

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Jennifer L. LansdowneDepartment of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.

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Ludovic P. BouréDepartment of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine reasons for epidural catheter placement among horses examined at a veterinary teaching hospital, efficacy of epidural administration of analgesics, duration of catheter placement, reasons for catheter removal, and complications encountered.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—43 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed.

Results—A total of 50 epidural catheters were placed in the 43 horses. Underlying conditions included fractures, lacerations, septic arthritis, myositis, perineal injuries, and cellulitis. Horses ranged from 2 to 21 years old and weighed between 365 and 795 kg (803 and 1,749 lb). Median duration of catheter placement was 96 hours (range, 1.5 to 480 hours). The response to epidural drug administration was reported as positive in 34 horses and negative in 4. There was no apparent response in 2 horses, and response could not be determined in 3. Three temporary patient-related complications associated with epidural catheter administration were observed. Technical problems associated with the epidural catheters included dislodgement of the catheter itself (7 catheters) or of the adapter or filter (5), obstruction (5), and leakage (5). Twenty-two catheters were removed because of resolution of the underlying condition, and 10 were removed because of complications. For 6 catheters, the reason for catheter removal was not recorded. The remaining 12 catheters were in place when the horses were euthanatized .

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that epidural catheterization can be used successfully for repeated epidural delivery of analgesics and anesthetics in horses with various clinical conditions. Complications associated with epidural catheters or epidural drug administration were infrequent and transient. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:1394–1398)

Abstract

Objective—To determine reasons for epidural catheter placement among horses examined at a veterinary teaching hospital, efficacy of epidural administration of analgesics, duration of catheter placement, reasons for catheter removal, and complications encountered.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—43 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed.

Results—A total of 50 epidural catheters were placed in the 43 horses. Underlying conditions included fractures, lacerations, septic arthritis, myositis, perineal injuries, and cellulitis. Horses ranged from 2 to 21 years old and weighed between 365 and 795 kg (803 and 1,749 lb). Median duration of catheter placement was 96 hours (range, 1.5 to 480 hours). The response to epidural drug administration was reported as positive in 34 horses and negative in 4. There was no apparent response in 2 horses, and response could not be determined in 3. Three temporary patient-related complications associated with epidural catheter administration were observed. Technical problems associated with the epidural catheters included dislodgement of the catheter itself (7 catheters) or of the adapter or filter (5), obstruction (5), and leakage (5). Twenty-two catheters were removed because of resolution of the underlying condition, and 10 were removed because of complications. For 6 catheters, the reason for catheter removal was not recorded. The remaining 12 catheters were in place when the horses were euthanatized .

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that epidural catheterization can be used successfully for repeated epidural delivery of analgesics and anesthetics in horses with various clinical conditions. Complications associated with epidural catheters or epidural drug administration were infrequent and transient. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:1394–1398)