OBJECTIVE To assess the effects of sedation on results of acoustoelastography of the superficial digital flexor tendons (SDFTs) in clinically normal horses.
ANIMALS 27 clinically normal horses.
PROCEDURES For each horse, the pathology index (PI) for the SDFT of each thoracic limb was determined by use of acoustoelastography at 4 locations (5, 10, 15, and 20 cm distal to the accessory carpal bone). Horses were evaluated before and after they were sedated with a combination of detomidine hydrochloride (0.01 mg/kg, IV) and butorphanol tartrate (0.01 mg/kg, IV). A repeated-measures ANOVA was used for statistical analysis.
RESULTS Overall, the PI was lower after sedation than before sedation. In addition, the PI was lower at more distal locations than at more proximal locations. There was not a significant effect of limb (left or right). Differences among individual horses accounted for the largest variance effect.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Sedation with detomidine and butorphanol facilitated acoustoelastography; however, it decreased the SDFT PI in clinically normal horses and should be used consistently in prospective studies. Variance associated with each individual horse in the sample population had the greatest effect on the PI.