Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Anesthesia: neonate

Contributor(s): Dennis R Gieser, Craig Johnson, G Mark Johnston, Mark Senior

Introduction

  • Compared with many other species, the foal is relatively well developed at birth.
  • The smaller size of the foal compared with the adult means that some anesthetic complications, such as hypotension   Anesthesia: monitoring - cardiac output and blood pressure  and respiratory disturbances, as well as post-anesthetic myoneuropathy   Muscle: myopathy - postanesthetic  , are less of a problem.
  • Some features of very young foals require special attention, such as thermoregulation, energy levels and metabolism, stress and the neonatal cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  • Neonatal foals are more sensitive to the effects of anesthetic drugs than adults. This is due to the differences between neonatal and adult anatomy and physiology.
  • Problems are enhanced when dealing with premature foals   Reproduction: prematurity / dysmaturity  .
  • Most foals often arrive for surgery with their mother, so steps must be taken to ensure minimal stress to them both when separating them before and re-uniting them after surgery, eg sedate the mare, stable mare out of audible range of the foal, etc.
  • The stress which a foal undergoes during anesthesia can lead to the development of gastric ulceration   Stomach: gastric ulceration  in the post-operative period. Administering H2 agonists orally (starting on the day of surgery) for a few days after surgery to help prevent gastric ulceration.

Anatomy and physiology

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Pharmacokinetics

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Pre-operative preparation

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Induction and maintenance

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Recovery

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Love E J (2011) Anaesthesia in foals with uroperitoneum. Equine Vet Educ 23 (10), 508-511.
  • Martinez E (1995) Anesthetizing neonatal foals. Vet Med. September, 879.
  • Tranquilli W J & Thurmon J C (1990) Management of anesthesia in the foal. Vet Clin North Am (3), 651-661 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Taylor P M (1992) Anesthesia of the Foal. Lecture notes.
  • Hall L W & Clarke K W (1983) Veterinary Anesthesia. 8th edn. Bailliere Tindall, UK.


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