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To investigate the effects of inhalation and total IV anesthesia on pituitary-adrenal activity in ponies.


9 healthy ponies: 5 geldings and 4 mares.


Catheters were placed in the cavernous sinus below the pituitary gland and in the subarachnoid space via the lumbosacral space. After 72 hours, administration of acepromazine was followed by induction of anesthesia with thiopentone and maintenance with halothane (halothane protocol), or for the IV protocol, anesthesia induction with detomidine and ketamine was followed by maintenance with IV infusion of a detomidine-ketamine-guaifenesin combination. Arterial blood pressure and gas tensions were measured throughout anesthesia. Peptide and catecholamine concentrations were measured in pituitary effluent, peripheral plasma, and CSF. Peripheral plasma cortisol, glucose, and lactate concentrations also were measured.


Intravenous anesthesia caused less cardiorespiratory depression than did halothane. ACTH, metenkephalin, arginine vasopressin, and norepinephrine pituitary effluent and peripheral plasma concentrations were higher during halothane anesthesia, with little change during intravenous anesthesia. Pituitary effluent plasma β-endorphin and peripheral plasma cortisol concentrations increased during halothane anesthesia only. Dynorphin concentrations did not change in either group. Hyperglycemia developed during intravenous anesthesia only. Minimal changes occurred in CSF hormonal concentrations during anesthesia.


The pituitary gland has a major role in maintaining circulating peptides during anesthesia. Compared with halothane, IV anesthesia appeared to suppress pituitary secretion. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:765–770)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare detomidine hydrochloride and romifidine as premedicants in horses undergoing elective surgery.

Animals—100 client-owned horses.

Procedure—After administration of acepromazine (0.03 mg/kg, IV), 50 horses received detomidine hydrochloride (0.02 mg/kg of body weight, IV) and 50 received romifidine (0.1 mg/kg, IV) before induction and maintenance of anesthesia with ketamine hydrochloride (2 mg/kg) and halothane, respectively. Arterial blood pressure and blood gases, ECG, and heart and respiratory rates were recorded. Induction and recovery were timed and graded.

Results—Mean (± SD) duration of anesthesia for all horses was 104 ± 28 minutes. Significant differences in induction and recovery times or grades were not detected between groups. Mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) decreased in both groups 30 minutes after induction, compared with values at 10 minutes. From 40 to 70 minutes after induction, MABP was significantly higher in detomidine-treated horses, compared with romifidine-treated horses, although more romifidine-treated horses received dobutamine infusions. In all horses, mean respiratory rate ranged from 9 to 11 breaths/min, PaO2 from 200 to 300 mm Hg, PaCO2 from 59 to 67 mm Hg, arterial pH from 7.33 to 7.29, and heart rate from 30 to 33 beats/min, with no significant differences between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Detomidine and romifidine were both satisfactory premedicants. Romifidine led to more severe hypotension than detomidine, despite administration of dobutamine to more romifidine-treated horses. Both detomidine and romifidine are acceptable α2-adrenoceptor agonists for use as premedicants before general anesthesia in horses; however, detomidine may be preferable when maintenance of blood pressure is particularly important. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:359–363)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate the hemodynamic effects of dobutamine hydrochloride (0.5 µg/kg of body weight/min) in halothane-anesthetized horses.

Animals—6 adult Thoroughbred horses.

Procedure—Anesthesia was induced by use of romifidine (100 µg/kg) and ketamine (2.2 mg/kg), IV. Anesthesia was maintained by halothane (end-tidal concentration 0.9 to 1.0%). Aortic, left ventricular, and right atrial pressures were measured, using cathetermounted strain gauge transducers. Cardiac output (CO), velocity time integral, maximal aortic blood flow velocity and acceleration, and left ventricular preejection period and ejection time were measured from aortic velocity waveforms obtained by transesophageal Doppler echocardiography. Velocity waveforms were recorded from the femoral vessels, using Doppler ultrasonography. The time-averaged mean velocity and early diastolic deceleration slope (EDDS) were measured. Pulsatility index (PI) and volumetric flow were calculated. Microvascular perfusion was measured in the semimembranosus muscles by laser Doppler flowmetry. Data were recorded 60 minutes after induction of anesthesia (control) and at 15 and 30 minutes after start of an infusion of dobutamine (0.5 µg/kg/min).

Results—Aortic pressures were significantly increased during the infusion of dobutamine. No change was observed in the indices of left ventricular systolic function including CO. Femoral arterial flow significantly increased, and the PI and EDDS decreased. No change was observed in the femoral venous flow or in microvascular perfusion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At this dosage, dobutamine did not alter left ventricular systolic function. Femoral blood flow was preferentially increased as the result of local vasodilatation. The lack of effect of dobutamine on microvascular perfusion suggests that increased femoral flow is not necessarily associated with improved perfusion of skeletal muscles. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1282–1288)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To use Doppler ultrasonography and singlefiber laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) to evaluate blood flow in the dependent and nondependent hind limbs of anesthetized horses and to evaluate changes in femoral arterial blood flow and microvascular skeletal muscle perfusion in response to administration of phenylephrine hydrochloride or dobutamine hydrochloride.

Animals—6 healthy adult horses.

Procedure—Horses were anesthetized and positioned in left lateral recumbency. Doppler ultrasonography was used to measure velocity and volumetric flow in the femoral vessels. Single-fiber LDF was used to measure relative microvascular perfusion at a single site in the semimembranosus muscles. Phenylephrine or dobutamine was then administered to decrease or increase femoral arterial blood flow, and changes in blood flow and microvascular perfusion were recorded.

Results—Administration of phenylephrine resulted in significant decreases in femoral arterial and venous blood flows and cardiac output and significant increases in mean aortic blood pressure, systemic vascular resistance, and PCV. Administration of dobutamine resulted in significant increases in femoral arterial blood flow, mean aortic blood pressure, and PCV. Significant changes in microvascular perfusion were not detected.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that Doppler ultrasonography and single-fiber LDF can be used to study blood flows in the hind limbs of anesthetized horses. However, further studies are required to determine why changes in femoral arterial blood flows were not associated with changes in microvascular perfusion. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:286–290)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research