Incidence of complications from perioperative urinary catheterisation in horses

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction Urinary catheterisation is a common procedure during equine anaesthesia[1]. A distended bladder may stimulate premature movement and voided urine is slippery, therefore emptying the bladder prior to recovery from anaesthesia is recommended as it may reduce the risk of injury [1, 2]. The purpose of this study was to identify the nature and incidence of complications from urinary catheterisation in anaesthetised horses.
Materials and Methods Retrospective clinical study. Anaesthetic records from 2011 to 2014 were reviewed. Cases where a urinary catheter was placed during the perioperative period were identified. Clinical records of these cases were searched for complications. Volume of urine collected and fluids administered were recorded. Descriptive statistics for numerical data were calculated.
Results 122 horses and 1 donkey were included; 70 males and 53 females. 107 (87%) catheters were placed in recovery. Complications occurred in 2 horses (1.6%). Both cases were inability to pass the catheter; in 1 case minor trauma to the urethra resulted. There were no cases of urinary tract infection or serious injury. 6 cases were identified where catheterisation was either attempted or intended yet the bladder was not emptied; in 4 of these cases the horses subsequently voided a large volume of urine; 1 horse slipped on this urine and fell. Mean UOP was 7.4 (6.3) ml/kg and ranged from 0.0 to 25.7 ml/kg.
Conclusions Complications due to perioperative urinary catheterisation in horses are relatively rare. Large volumes of urine may be present and could contribute to the risk of injury during recovery from anaesthesia.
1. Taylor, P.M. and K.W. Clarke, Handbook of Equine Anaesthesia. 2nd ed. 2007, Philadelphia, PA, USA: Saunders - Elsevier. 220.
2. Quinn, C.T. and J.L. Carmalt, Ruptured urinary bladder in a horse. Vet Anaesth Analg, 2012. 39(5): p. 557-8.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2015
EventAustralian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists 2015 Science Week - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 09 Jul 201511 Jul 2015


ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists 2015 Science Week
Abbreviated titleAnaesthesia Chapter
CityGold Coast
Internet address


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