The aim of this randomised, observer-blinded, crossover study was to compare the effects of six treatments, administered intravenously to six horses: saline and saline (S/S); detomidine and saline (D/S); detomidine and 5 µg/kg buprenorphine (D/B5); detomidine and 7.5 µg/kg buprenorphine (D/B7.5); detomidine and 10 µg/kg buprenorphine (D/B10); and detomidine and 25 µg/kg butorphanol (D/BUT). The detomidine dose was 10 µg/kg for all treatments in which it was included. Sedation was subjectively assessed and recorded on a visual analogue scale. Peak sedation, duration of sedation and the area under the curve (AUC) for sedation scores were investigated using a univariate general linear model with post-hoc Tukey tests (P<0.05). Peak sedation and duration of sedation were statistically significantly different between treatments (P<0.001). No sedation was apparent after administration of S/S. The AUC was significantly different between treatments (P=0.010), with S/S being significantly different from D/S, D/BUT, D/B5 and D/B7.5, but not D/B10 (P=0.051).
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