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August 3, 2011

Experts' Experts: Anesthetizing a horse


Caption for the photo above, from The Guardian's Eyewitness series: "A horse is hoisted on to a surgery table for an operation at Newmarket equine hospital, Suffolk, which provides veterinary and emergency care for horses from around the world."

I must say I find it somewhat troubling that while the personnel are in surgical attire with masks on — as should be the case in any human operating room observing sterile precautions once the instrument trays are opened — mops and buckets (left side of the photo) remain in the room.

What's that about?

[via Richard Kashdan]

August 3, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Report from cousin / large animal vet:

Horse colic & founder are potentially fatal conditions that arise where a horse has consumed large amounts of grain. The animal's mesentery cannot withstand the mass in the gut and intestinal tears will result in exsanguination. That's why the horse is suspended - so that gravity will not pull the gut towards the belly.

The procedure shown is just prior to the incision - followed by freeing a substantial mass of intestines (laying them out on the floor of the operating theater) and flushing up to a hundred pounds of grain contained therein out onto the floor. The gut contents are squeegeed into a collecting drain while the intestines are washed with an isotonic antibiotic (from hoses!) solution then reattached and anastomosed followed by closing the incision. The procedure takes at least eight (8) skilled techs in addition to two vets and 3-5 hours.

Bigger animal. Bigger mass to isolate and dispose ofu

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 4, 2011 1:35:45 PM

Yup, struck me as a definite yuk, but hesitated to comment. Glad it came from you Joe. Also the liquid and rubber boots, looks like a "hose down" sort of operation. Large and veterinary, so as the others said, perhaps a different animal (no pun intended). And what about that lighting? I wonder if the horse thinks it's an alien abduction. "Wilber!!!!"

Posted by: tamra | Aug 4, 2011 10:00:27 AM

I've always been allowed in with the vet during my dogs' c-sections. They need the help quickly as puppies come out so I've been there to grab one and start cleaning it up.

Posted by: Paula | Aug 4, 2011 12:12:04 AM

Thought that "bucket" looked funny. Expanded four times, that is not janitorial, at least not that I have ever seen. Oh, and the mops and sponges look brand new, unused.

Depending on just what is about to be done, there may be LOTS of blood and other fluids. Far more than from a similar operation on a human. And over a larger area, so having a long handle on a swab is probably a good idea. And big swabs, at that - those sponges again, for example.

Posted by: John A | Aug 4, 2011 12:02:37 AM

Body fluids from an animal as big as a horse might be more copious than a human's maybe, something might need to be cleaned in a hurry else the floor become slippery. Just a guess.

Posted by: Milena | Aug 3, 2011 7:49:27 PM

My guess would be that the masks are to protect the doctors, not the horse, and that the bucket is probably full of the sterilizing material anyway.

Also as knot pointed out, they may not have closed off the work area - after all, the photographer is still there...

Posted by: stephan.com | Aug 3, 2011 6:14:10 PM

I'll have to send this off to my cousin, the large animal vet (and, expert witness) to see what's up. It has been many, many years since I visited the clinic in southern Oklahoma.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 3, 2011 5:08:58 PM

well, the horse is "hoisted" in this image and caption. so since they haven't gone too far, maybe they have not yet cordoned-off the actual work area? Seems to be liquid on the floor too. Too hard to say but I am knot.

Posted by: Knot Really | Aug 3, 2011 5:07:25 PM

I want to be the tail holder...

Oh, wait, that's not the tail.

Posted by: Joe Peach | Aug 3, 2011 4:48:33 PM

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