Detomidine (30 mcg/kg), xylazine (1.1 mg/kg) and xylazine/morphine (1.1 mg/kg and 0.75 mg/kg with 300 mg maximum dose) were compared in horses admitted for broncho-alveolar lavage. Horses (n=99) were randomized and clinicians performing the procedure were unaware of the sedation used. Horses were assessed during the procedure and for the next 2 hours. A significant number of xylazine/morphine-sedated horses showed excitement (p<0.05). The frequency of sinus block or arrest and second-degree atrioventricular block was significantly greater with detomidine. Detomidine-sedated horses were significantly more depressed than either xylazine or xylazine/morphine treated animals. Heart rate was significantly greater in horses given xylazine/morphine by 60 min. There was no significant difference between drug treatments related to reactions to the procedure or respiratory rate depression. The study indicated that all three methods are suitable for standing restraint. The more frequent adverse side effects (circling, muscle fasciculations, head pressing) accompanying xylazine/morphine should be considered.
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