Use of a pool-raft system for recovery of horses from general anesthesia: 393 horses (1984–2000)

Eileen K. Sullivan Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinaryc Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.
Present address is Department of Clinical Sciences, James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Colorado StateUniversity, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1620.

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Lin V. Klein Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Dean W. Richardson Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Michael W. Ross Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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James A. Orsini Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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David M. Nunamaker Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Abstract

Objective—To describe the pool-raft recovery system protocol and to evaluate the clinical outcome inhorses that underwent recovery from general anes-thesia using this system.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—393 horses that underwent recovery fromgeneral anesthesia in the pool-raft system.

Procedure—Anesthetic records were examined fromhorses recovered from anesthesia in the pool-raft sys-tem between January 1984 and December 2000.Complete medical records of horses were examinedwhen available. Information regarding the anestheticand recovery period was recorded. Horses first recov-ered from general anesthesia in the pool-raft and,once awake, were transported to a recovery stall andlowered to the floor in a standing position.

Results—351 horses underwent 1 pool-raft recovery,and 42 horses underwent multiple pool-raft recover-ies. Most horses were recovered from general anes-thesia within the pool-raft system to safeguard repairof a major orthopedic injury. During 471 pool-raftrecoveries, 34 (7%) horses had complications withinthe recovery pool and 62 (13%) had complicationswithin the recovery stall. Deaths resulted from complete failure of internal fixation, pulmonary dysfunc-tion, or a combination of pulmonary dysfunction andfixation failure in 2% (10/471) of horses that under-went pool-raft recoveries.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The pool-raftsystem is a good option for recovery from generalanesthesia. Although not a fail-safe system, itappears to decrease the complications of recoveringhorses in a high-risk category. Potential disadvan-tages of this system are added expense and man-power necessary in building, maintenance, andusage, as well as size limitations of the raft itself. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1014–1018)

Abstract

Objective—To describe the pool-raft recovery system protocol and to evaluate the clinical outcome inhorses that underwent recovery from general anes-thesia using this system.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—393 horses that underwent recovery fromgeneral anesthesia in the pool-raft system.

Procedure—Anesthetic records were examined fromhorses recovered from anesthesia in the pool-raft sys-tem between January 1984 and December 2000.Complete medical records of horses were examinedwhen available. Information regarding the anestheticand recovery period was recorded. Horses first recov-ered from general anesthesia in the pool-raft and,once awake, were transported to a recovery stall andlowered to the floor in a standing position.

Results—351 horses underwent 1 pool-raft recovery,and 42 horses underwent multiple pool-raft recover-ies. Most horses were recovered from general anes-thesia within the pool-raft system to safeguard repairof a major orthopedic injury. During 471 pool-raftrecoveries, 34 (7%) horses had complications withinthe recovery pool and 62 (13%) had complicationswithin the recovery stall. Deaths resulted from complete failure of internal fixation, pulmonary dysfunc-tion, or a combination of pulmonary dysfunction andfixation failure in 2% (10/471) of horses that under-went pool-raft recoveries.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The pool-raftsystem is a good option for recovery from generalanesthesia. Although not a fail-safe system, itappears to decrease the complications of recoveringhorses in a high-risk category. Potential disadvan-tages of this system are added expense and man-power necessary in building, maintenance, andusage, as well as size limitations of the raft itself. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1014–1018)

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