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  1. #1
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Default MRI under full anesthesia UPDATE

    My gelding is getting full anesthesia done for hoof/lower leg MRI on Monday. The MRI we did last year was a standing procedure and he only required sedative and I am dreading what is going to happen after he starts to wake up. The facility is great (Pioneer Equine), I fully trust them, they are experienced, and have padded rooms for horses coming out of anesthesia but I have lost my sleep. My horse is quite a case by himself, very spooky and acting crazy in unfamiliar places and the thought of him waking up in that room alone is driving me crazy. There is also my trainer, whose horse went through surgery under full anesthesia and who is saying “she was never quite the same ever since.”

    Please share you experience with this procedure? Do I have a reason to be paranoid, or it’s just another case of “horse-craziness?” Anything we should be on lookout for after procedure? What were your horses like in “waking up room?”
    Last edited by Equus_girl; Jun. 2, 2009 at 10:15 AM.



  2. #2
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    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    FWIW, my old TB mare had CT under full anesthesia twice, and sailed through both times without a speck of trouble.
    Click here before you buy.



  3. #3
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    Jun. 30, 2006
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    Middle Tennessee
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    Try to relax. Your veternarian and his/her staff are professionals.

    Horses aren't just left alone in a "waking up room" after anesthesia to fend for themselves. The recovery process is closely monitored. There will be experienced staff on hand to keep him as calm as possible. Recovery stalls are THICKLY padded as well-- where I worked the floors were even springy underneath the padding. Being alone in a strange place usually isn't even a factor. The horses are more concerned with trying to get their footing. Once he is awake enough to realize, "Hey, where are the other horses?", he'll probably be on his way to his stall if not already there.

    I don't want to say accidents never happen, but hundreds upon hundreds of horses go under general anesthesia every day and are no worse for the experience. While horses can react differently just like people, your veterinary practice has probably seen it all.

    I don't know what your hospital's visitation policy is, but ask if you can visit your horse at his stall shortly after recovery. Honestly, it won't help at all for you to be there during recovery, but afterwards when he's awake and coherent he might appreciate a familiar face.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO



  4. #4
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    Feb. 8, 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
    My gelding is getting full anesthesia done for hoof/lower leg MRI on Monday. The MRI we did last year was a standing procedure and he only required sedative and I am dreading what is going to happen after he starts to wake up. The facility is great (Pioneer Equine), I fully trust them, they are experienced, and have padded rooms for horses coming out of anesthesia but I have lost my sleep. My horse is quite a case by himself, very spooky and acting crazy in unfamiliar places and the thought of him waking up in that room alone is driving me crazy. There is also my trainer, whose horse went through surgery under full anesthesia and who is saying “she was never quite the same ever since.”

    Please share you experience with this procedure? Do I have a reason to be paranoid, or it’s just another case of “horse-craziness?” Anything we should be on lookout for after procedure? What were your horses like in “waking up room?”

    No reason to be paranoid, but concerned, sure. It's always a risk but most horses are just fine. Your trainer's horse is probably not "quite the same" because of the surgery, not the anesthesia. I'm curious as to why they are repeating the MRI though what's going on?



  5. #5
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    Jan. 31, 2003
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    I personally worry about this more than anything else I've had to have done to any of my horses.

    I am not trying to be an alarmist, but horses do hurt themselves in the recovery room. I always carefully consider the nature of whatever horse I am subjecting to this, because what an awful thing to have it all go right and then go wrong at the end. I have had horses who were not candidates for being knocked out because of this.

    The other thing to think about is that the method used to carry them around, while knocked out isn't exactly great either. I have always maintained that a horse who goes thru that needs to see the chiro ASAP afterwards and should be considered to need to recover from that, too. Horses weren't designed to carry all their weight the way they do when taken in/out of surgery.

    Aieeeee. You have my fullest sympathies and if I were there I'd hold your hand or make you a drink or whatever it took. I have been there when most of my kids got up from surgery and it's a tough thing to watch. But truly what is even worse IMO is to watch them go down for it. All in all, it is scary. Hang in there. You aren't crazy for being concerned, but it sounds like its something you need to have done... so how about if we jingle for your horse? I'll start now.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  6. #6
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    Jul. 23, 2007
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    New Jersey
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    I understand your worry and you of course will continue to be. But like another poster said....they are not left along, the rooms are fulled padded and my barn owner's FEI horse just had this done and he is totally fine!!

    I will be sweating it out soon myself as my 3 year old has a OCD lesion in the shoulder so we have to have surgery.....sigh
    Adriane
    Happily retired but used to be:
    www.ParrotNutz.com



  7. #7
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    Jun. 4, 2006
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    My horse went through full anesthesia for an MRI last May. His face was temporarily paralised on one side. A big shot of banamine he was fine within 24 hours. Your horse will be fine!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2000
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    Southern NJ
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    I think it is what it is. When my guy had colic surgery four months ago, the hospital told me "they had a hard time" with him waking up. This was his first time waking up from a general, and I have been told by another vet if they are hard once, they will often be hard in future cases.

    I was not there when he woke up, but I did see him in the room prior to waking up. Its something that I was better off not seeing anyway, and I don't know if they would allow you to watch.



  9. #9
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    Nov. 9, 2006
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    Why not opt for a standing MRI instead? It will completely eliminate the risks you're worried about.



  10. #10
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    Jun. 30, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAH View Post
    I was not there when he woke up, but I did see him in the room prior to waking up. Its something that I was better off not seeing anyway, and I don't know if they would allow you to watch.
    I have been a part of more recoveries than I can count, but I probably wouldn't want to be there for my own horse! Everything is always harder to watch when you're emotionally invested.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO



  11. #11
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dune View Post
    No reason to be paranoid, but concerned, sure. It's always a risk but most horses are just fine. Your trainer's horse is probably not "quite the same" because of the surgery, not the anesthesia. I'm curious as to why they are repeating the MRI though what's going on?
    Jax was diagnosed with severe DDFT lesion last spring. It started almost at coffin bone and went up for about 5 inches Since most of the injury was in the hoof, the MRI was the only diagnostic equipment to pick it up. So we did a standing MRI at UC Davis. On the good side it did not require full anesthesia, but on the bad side, unfortunately it does not provide as clear of an image as the laid up MRI machine. Thus, we could not tell whether it was the first time he had the injury (by the amount of scar tissue present) or it was a chronic condition

    Jax has been through IRAP, shockwave, stall rest and pasture turnout and now since he looks mostly sound and vet wants me to start bringing him back to work we are doing a second MRI to see what is going on with his tendon.



  12. #12
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by In_The_Ribbons View Post
    Why not opt for a standing MRI instead? It will completely eliminate the risks you're worried about.
    We did laid up MRI last year and vets were not thrilled with quality. The images were a bit blurry and while they showed the injury clearly, vets were not able to tell whether it was a fresh injury or a chronic one (by the amount of scar tissue present.) If it was a first-time injury, I should get him out from pasture and start bringing back as he will have a 50/50 chance of staying sound, and if it is a chronic condition, I should probably leave him alone and get used to a thought of having first "pasture ornament"



  13. #13
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    Apr. 1, 2004
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    South Bay - California
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    My ISH underwent a CT guided procedure (PRP/Stem Cell injections) at UC Davis under full anesthesia in February for an injection into a DDFT lesion in the hoof. They kept him for a day under their care to ensure everything was fine - and it was, he didn't have an issue. Once he got back I made sure my vet was keeping an eye on him to check up. I would think that if your horse is under the care of professionals who do this a lot, you shouldn't worry a ton. (Of course nothing is always perfect).

    He had previously done a standing MRI there a couple weeks before the procedure to find the lesion which ranges from his fetlock to the navicular.

    I wish you luck and hope your guy makes a full recovery (my guy had not worked for a few months before the procedure and was unfit as well).



  14. #14
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    I personally worry about this more than anything else I've had to have done to any of my horses.

    I am not trying to be an alarmist, but horses do hurt themselves in the recovery room. I always carefully consider the nature of whatever horse I am subjecting to this, because what an awful thing to have it all go right and then go wrong at the end. I have had horses who were not candidates for being knocked out because of this.

    The other thing to think about is that the method used to carry them around, while knocked out isn't exactly great either. I have always maintained that a horse who goes thru that needs to see the chiro ASAP afterwards and should be considered to need to recover from that, too. Horses weren't designed to carry all their weight the way they do when taken in/out of surgery.

    Aieeeee. You have my fullest sympathies and if I were there I'd hold your hand or make you a drink or whatever it took. I have been there when most of my kids got up from surgery and it's a tough thing to watch. But truly what is even worse IMO is to watch them go down for it. All in all, it is scary. Hang in there. You aren't crazy for being concerned, but it sounds like its something you need to have done... so how about if we jingle for your horse? I'll start now.
    Thank you! I appreciate jingles and support! Thats why I love this board

    Would you please care to elaborate on "I have had horses who were not candidates for being knocked out because of this" ? This is one of my biggest worries as the horse is really a bit on the crazy side, and requires elephant dosage of sedatives for any procedures done outside of his home.

    As for how they carry them around, they showed me a cart they use, but I would think its the same for any horse clinic. Thanks for the tip on chiro, I will book the appointment immediately.

    If it was my other horse, who is in training, fit and in great body condition, I would not worry that much. But this guy has been out of work for more than a year and in "retirement" weight and condition. His has no stamina left whatsoever and starts huffing and puffing after brisk 2 minutes walk.



  15. #15
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texarkana View Post
    I have been a part of more recoveries than I can count, but I probably wouldn't want to be there for my own horse! Everything is always harder to watch when you're emotionally invested.
    Yes, I am not sure if I want to see him going down. They have viewing windows in MRI and surgery rooms but I am not sure I have guts to watch it. He is coming to the hospital on Friday, and I will visit him on Saturday and be there after he wakes up after MRI on Monday.



  16. #16
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    Apr. 1, 2004
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    South Bay - California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
    Yes, I am not sure if I want to see him going down. They have viewing windows in MRI and surgery rooms but I am not sure I have guts to watch it. He is coming to the hospital on Friday, and I will visit him on Saturday and be there after he wakes up after MRI on Monday.
    Good call - I went to see a colic surgery. If its your horse on the table or in the OR, I recommend staying away, nerves run higher.



  17. #17
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    Apr. 13, 2007
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    North San Diego County, CA
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    I'm with EqTrainer on this one.. I didn't watch, but my girl came out of the MRI and was a little stiff on her right hind, I suspect it was from pulling that leg to position her, or from her getting up. The clinic said she woke up peacefully and nothing that saw would cause it. We were doing the front legs, so it had nothing to do with the actual MRI.

    Anyway, did chiro afterwards, and she probably looks/acts sound, but I see a slight shortness on that side that I attribute to starting when the MRI was done. Maybe just my imagination. Maybe it was there before, but in her grogginess it was accentuated? It is nothing that affects her current training.

    My girl was 7, and very healthy, but the anesthesia takes a toll on them. I remember being surprised to see her so "out of it" compared to standing sedation. I know I would think twice before subjecting her to it again.

    jan



  18. #18
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    May. 2, 2001
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    I feel for you. I think I would have a really hard time agreeing to general anesthesia for a diagnostic procedure. Even though most of the horses come out ok, not all do.

    I think you just have to reassure yourself that you picked a clinic with lots of experience and caring professionals. That should guarantee your horse the best possible chance of a good outcome.



  19. #19
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    May. 21, 2008
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    Pioneer is great. My horse had general anesthesia surgery there, and I was incredibly impressed with how they handled the recovery portion. My horse is a 1700 lb. Percheron, too. You are in the best hands possible!

    I find my guys crave dandelion leaves after general anesthesia. I later learned this helps the liver detoxify from the drugs. I also make sure they get some chiropractic work as soon as possible after the procedure.



  20. #20
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
    We did laid up MRI last year and vets were not thrilled with quality. The images were a bit blurry and while they showed the injury clearly, vets were not able to tell whether it was a fresh injury or a chronic one (by the amount of scar tissue present.) If it was a first-time injury, I should get him out from pasture and start bringing back as he will have a 50/50 chance of staying sound, and if it is a chronic condition, I should probably leave him alone and get used to a thought of having first "pasture ornament"
    If you're really worried about the general why don't you skip the MRI and just bring him back into work and see what happens? It sounds like the choices are rehab or pasture potato and if he's already turned out to pasture you won't be doing any more harm by gently working him to see how he holds up.



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