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Effects of general anesthesia on myoelectric activity of the intestine in horses

Lester, G.D., Bolton, J.R., Cullen, L.K. and Thurgate, S.M. (1992) Effects of general anesthesia on myoelectric activity of the intestine in horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 53 (9). pp. 1553-7.


Myoelectric activity was monitored from the terminal ileum, cecum, and colonic pelvic flexure by use of AgpAgCl bipolar electrodes in 4 adult horses before, during, and after general anesthesia. Horses were anesthetized by way of 3 commonly used regimens, including xylazine (1.1 mg/kg of body weight) and ketamine hydrochloride (2.2 mg/kg); thiopental sodium (7.7 mg/kg), followed by halothane vaporized in oxygen; and thiopental sodium (2.5 g) in guaifenesin (100 mg/ml) solution given to effect, followed by halothane in oxygen. All 3 anesthetic regimens decreased intestinal spike-burst activity in the areas monitored. The slowest return to preanesthetic myoelectric activity was observed after xylazine and ketamine administration. After both of the barbiturate/halothane anesthetic regimens, there was a rebound increase in spike-burst frequency, without alteration in the proportion of propagative myoelectric events. All 3 anesthetic regimens appeared to reset the timing of the small and large intestinal migrating myoelectric complexes. By 9 hours after recovery from anesthesia, the effects of anesthesia, irrespective of regimen, had disappeared. Although anesthesia significantly (P less than 0.05) altered intestinal myoelectric activity, no particular anesthetic regimen had a prolonged effect. Results of our study indicate that the particular chosen regimen of general anesthesia is unimportant in development of motility disturbances in horses after anesthesia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: American Veterinary Medical Association
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