Objective - To measure duration of corneal anesthesia and time and degree of maximal anesthetic effect of 0.5% proparacaine hydrochloride by use of a Cochet-Bonnet aesthesiometer in horses. Animals - 10 clinically normal adult horses. Procedures - Baseline corneal touch threshold (CTT) was measured in millimeters for 1 randomly selected eye of each horse by use of the aesthesiometer by applying the filament to the cornea at maximum length (60 mm) and decreasing in 5-mm increments until a consistent blink response was elicited. Following baseline CTT measurement, 0.2 mL of 0.5% proparacaine hydrochloride was instilled in the selected eye. The CTT was measured within 1 minute following proparacaine administration and every 5 minutes thereafter for 60 minutes. A mixed-model ANOVA with tested eye varying between subjects and measurement time varying within subject was used to test for main effects and any interaction between these factors. A contrast between means of baseline and each subsequent CTT identified the duration of corneal anesthesia as the time at which there was no difference from baseline. Maximal anesthetic effect occurred at the time with the lowest mean CTT. Results - Duration of corneal anesthesia achieved by use of proparacaine was 25 minutes, and maximal anesthetic effect occurred within 5 minutes, although CTT never went to 0 in any horse at any time. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Duration of corneal anesthesia in horses was shorter than in dogs, and degree of maximal effect was less than in cats and dogs, most likely because of increased sensitivity of the equine cornea, compared with corneal sensitivity in those species.
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