Kälin, I., Henze, I. S., Ringer, S. K. et al. 2021. Comparison of recovery quality following medetomidine versus xylazine balanced isoflurane anaesthesia in horses: A retrospective analysis. Animals 11(8), 2440.

Medetomidine partial intravenous anaesthesia (PIVA) has not been compared to xylazine PIVA regarding quality of recovery. This clinical retrospective study compared recoveries following isoflurane anaesthesia balanced with medetomidine or xylazine. The following standard protocol was used: sedation with 7 µg·kg−1 medetomidine or 1.1 mg·kg−1 xylazine, anaesthesia induction with ketamine/diazepam, maintenance with isoflurane and 3.5 µg·kg−1·h−1 medetomidine or 0.7 mg·kg−1·h−1 xylazine, and sedation after anaesthesia with 2 µg·kg−1 medetomidine or 0.3 mg·kg−1 xylazine. Recovery was timed and, using video recordings, numerically scored by two blinded observers. Influence of demographics, procedure, peri-anaesthetic drugs, and intraoperative complications (hypotension, hypoxemia, and tachycardia) on recovery were analysed using regression analysis (p < 0.05). A total of 470 recoveries (medetomidine 279, xylazine 191) were finally included. Following medetomidine, recoveries were significantly longer (median (interquartile range): 57 (43–71) min) than xylazine (43 (32–59) min) (p < 0.001). However, the number of attempts to stand was similar (medetomidine and xylazine: 2 (1–3)). Poorer scores were seen with increased pre-anaesthetic dose of xylazine, intraoperative tetrastarch, or salbutamol. However, use of medetomidine or xylazine did not influence recovery score, concluding that, following medetomidine–isoflurane PIVA, recovery is longer, but of similar quality compared to xylazine.

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