Equine surgery is challenging. But consider that one of the most daunting aspects is protecting the horse during recovery from general anesthesia.
General anesthetics can cause weakness and disorientation as a horse wakes up and tries to stand. One way to decrease the risk of injury is to use standing sedation instead.
Thanks to advanced sedation and local anesthetic techniques, many surgical procedures can now be performed while the horse stands. Examples include arthroscopy (that’s looking inside a joint with a camera), certain fracture repairs and sinus surgeries.
But standing surgery has challenges of its own. Some horses may move or get the urge to lie down, and it can be tough to maintain a sterile surgical field.
If surgery’s in the cards for your horse, ask your veterinarian about the relative risks involved.