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Mammals (other)
Induction of general anaesthesia by blowpipe darting in a fractious companion horse
  1. Sabina Diez Bernal1,
  2. Simone Lanz2,
  3. Isabelle Schmutz3,
  4. Tosso Leeb3 and
  5. Claudia Spadavecchia1
  1. 1 Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2 Institut Suisse de Medecine Equine, Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3 Institute of Genetics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sabina Diez Bernal; sabina.diez{at}


A fractious nine-year-old, 520-kg, neutered Swiss Warmblood was presented with a history of anorexia, progressive weight loss and mild hindlimb lameness. Because of its temperament, standard physical examination was considered to be only feasible under general anaesthesia. For safety reasons, general anaesthesia was planned to be induced by blowpipe darting. Two attempts are described and discussed in the present report. The first attempt, using a combination of medetomidine and tiletamine-zolazepam, was unsuccessful. Conversely, detomidine combined with butorphanol, followed by a second dart of detomidine and tiletamine-zolazepam, proved to be adequate to induce anaesthesia. Factors that could have influenced the outcome, such as different therapeutic approach, drug protocol and dosages, stress level, or genetic mutations, are presented and discussed.

  • anaesthesia
  • horses
  • drug administration
  • resistance
  • gene polymorphisms
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  • Contributors SDB: anaesthetic management of the case, preparation, writing and review of the manuscript. SL: clinically responsible for the case and review of the manuscript. IS: genomic sequencing and interpretation, review of the manuscript. TL: supervision of the genomic sequencing and interpretation, contribution and review of the manuscript. CS: supervision of the anaesthetic management, guidance, contribution and review of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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