The effects of combining large doses of xylazine (1.1 mg per kg intravenously) with ketamine, methohexitone and thiopentone were studied in four experimental ponies. Onset of anaesthesia was more delayed after ketamine than after the barbiturates. Assessment of smoothness of induction and recovery indicated that all three combinations were effective and acceptable. Injection of xylazine was followed by atrioventricular (A-V) block which could be prevented by the prior administration of atropine. Blood pressure was well maintained with all three combinations of drugs. Arterial oxygen tension decreased as soon as the ponies became recumbent but there were no marked changes in arterial blood pH or carbon dioxide tension. Cardiac output was measured in one pony and was found to be least affected by ketamine. There was no great difference between the recumbency times after ketamine and methohexitone but thiopentone produced a significantly longer period of recumbency. In every instance the animals stood at the first attempt without struggling or excitement. The ability of the three drug combinations to produce surgically useful anaesthesia was not tested.
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