A retrospective analysis examined mortality associated with all procedures requiring general anaesthetic, performed at the Philip Leverhulme Large Animal Teaching Hospital, during the five-year period from February 1991 to December 1995. The study involved details relating to 2276 equine general anaesthetics and a variety of patient variables were examined. Within a group of 1279 animals undergoing anaesthesia for elective procedures, 46 (3.6 per cent) died or were euthanased owing to a poor prognosis or financial implications. Mortality relating directly to the surgery or anaesthesia occurred in eight of these cases. Therefore, the surgicaVanaesthetic death rate was 0.63 per cent. Death which was apparently attributable directly to the anaesthesia (no organic cause of death found at postmortem examination) occurred only once, giving an anaesthetic death rate of 0.08 per cent.