Objective—To compare recoveries from anesthesia of horses placed on a conventional padded stall floor or on a specially designed air pillow.
Animals—409 horses (> 1 year old) that were anesthetized for surgical procedures during a 37-month period.
Procedures—By random allocation, horses were allowed to recover from anesthesia in either a foammat–padded recovery stall or an identical recovery stall equipped with a rapidly inflating-deflating air pillow. All recoveries were videotaped for subsequent analysis by an independent evaluator. Times to first movement, first attempt to attain sternal recumbency, attainment of sternal recumbency, first attempt to stand, and successful standing were recorded. The numbers of attempts before achieving sternal recumbency and standing were counted, and scores for quality of standing and overall recovery were assigned. Recovery-related variables were compared between groups.
Results—Compared with horses allowed to recover in a conventional manner, horses that recovered from anesthesia on the air pillow had a significantly longer rest period before attempting to attain sternal recumbency and rise to standing. Once the pillow was deflated, horses were able to stand after significantly fewer attempts and the quality of their standing was significantly better. Between the 2 groups of horses, there was no significant difference in overall recovery quality scores. The air pillow and padded floor systems were equally safe.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that use of a rapidly inflating-deflating air pillow promotes a longer period of recumbency and a better quality of standing after anesthesia in horses.