Using Alfaxalone as an Anaesthetic in Horses: Potential for improved safety for horses and handlers

  • 46 pages

  • Published: 9 Oct 2011

  • Author(s): Shiels, Ian , Pearson, Martin , Pasloske, Kirby , Goodwin, Wendy , Keates, Helen

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Anaesthesia in horses is inherently risky because of their anatomical and physiological makeup. In addition, horses by nature tend to panic if frightened, leading to injuries. Deaths and injuries in healthy horses undergoing anaesthesia for routine procedures are more common than in other domestic animals.
In this RIRDC project, a new formulation of the steroidal anaesthetic drug alfaxalone was investigated in horses, both neonatal foals and adult horses. Alfaxalone was used in combination with medetominide to maintain anaesthesia in a group of young horses anaesthetised for castration. Conditions were satisfactory for castration and the horses had calm inductions and recoveries.
This report is relevant to all sectors of the equine industries.