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Evaluation of clinical and electrocardiographic changes during the euthanasia of horses.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23290564     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The objective of this prospective field study was to investigate whether commonly used criteria for clinical death occurred at the same time as cardiac death, as determined by electrocardiography. Specific ECG changes during euthanasia were also studied. Twenty-nine horses were euthanized with pentobarbital at two different dose rates and 15 of the 29 horses also received detomidine hydrochloride for sedation. ECG was recorded prior to and during euthanasia. Time to collapse, cessation of reflexes, heart sounds and asystole were recorded. ECG recordings were used to calculate RR intervals, PQ duration, QRS duration, distance from QRS complex to end of T wave corrected for HR (QT(c) interval), duration of T-wave from peak to end (T(peak)T(end)) and amplitudes of T wave (T(peak)) before and during euthanasia. Differences between groups and ECG changes were evaluated using analysis of variance. Clinical determination of death occurred before cardiac death (P<0.05). Sedated horses took longer to collapse than unsedated horses (P<0.0001), but asystole occurred faster in sedated horses (P<0.0001). No significant changes in QRS duration were observed, but RR, PQ, QT(c), T(peak)T(end) and T(peak) were influenced by both pentobarbital dose and sedation (P<0.05-<0.0001). In conclusion, sedation prior to euthanasia resulted in a shorter time to asystole and is therefore recommended for the euthanasia of horses. Importantly, the results show that the clinical definition of death occurred significantly earlier than cardiac death (defined as asystole), which indicates that the clinical declaration of death in horses could be premature compared to that used in humans.
R Buhl; L O F Andersen; M Karlshøj; J K Kanters
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-1-3
Journal Detail:
Title:  Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997)     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1532-2971     ISO Abbreviation:  Vet. J.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-7     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9706281     Medline TA:  Vet J     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Højbakkegård Allé 5, DK-2630 Taastrup, Denmark. Electronic address:
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