A Table Topic session on standing surgery in draft horses attracted about 65 for the 1½-hour session at the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. The attendees included a wide spectrum of practitioners, from recent graduates to those with a wealth of practice experience over many years of professional life. It was an excellent exchange of ideas, experience, and considerations of standing surgery in draft horses as well as comments related to application in light horses.

Major discussions involved patient selection, diagnosis, preparation, sedation, and aftercare of the standing surgical patient. Discussion included observations of the need to have a tractable patient to begin with, surgical preparation of a large surgical area to reduce risks of contamination during surgery, pre-surgical antibiotic therapy, sedation/anesthesia options related to presently available drugs, and surgical approaches. Especially stressed was the importance of all possible safety precautions being taken for the patient, doctor, and technicians.

Intra-operative problems were discussed related to evacuation of intraluminal gases to provide increased comfort for the patient as well as provide greater opportunity to correct anatomical displacements that might be present. Intra-abdominal analgesia was also stressed via the direct application of local anesthetics to anatomical structures within the abdomen. Actual physical exploration and manipulation of intestinal contents was also discussed, and those conditions in which correction was feasible were discussed in detail.

Postoperative care and complications were addressed, including incisional complications, or preventive measures taken to avoid those complications. Placement of incisional drains was discussed, as were methods utilized in approaching solutions to these complications.

Facilitators hoped to discuss some of the many standing procedures that can safely be considered in standing draft horse surgery, but time was unavailable to pursue those discussions due to the interest in the above discussion.

This Table Topic was facilitated by Grant Myhre, DVM, and Dallas Goble, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, who wrote this article.

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