Analysis of cases handled by the Large Animal Rescue Service of Switzerland
The goal of this study was to analyze the records of the first large animal rescue service of Switzerland (GTRD). The feasibility of first aid before and during transport and experiences gained from various modes of transportation were of particular interest. A total of 155 applications of the GTRD from 2003 to 2008 including the protocols of emergency rescues and transport of horses and donkeys were analyzed. The administration of first aid was critical for the outcome of rescue efforts. This study indicated that first aid during transport of the patient was feasible, although it depended on the severity of the injury or disease and the overall condition of the patient. Continuous monitoring of the patient during transport allows rapid intervention when there is deterioration in the condition of the animal. Sedatives are commonly administered to prevent secondary trauma and to assure optimal condition of the patient upon arrival at the clinic. First aid and monitoring during transport have a significant effect on the prognosis of the patient.
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of sedation on the stress level and general behaviour of horses suspended in the animal rescue and transportation sling (ARTS) using various non-invasive monitoring techniques. Twenty horses aged 3.5 to 16.5 years were used in a randomised crossover design. The ARTS was applied and the horses were suspended from a crane for 5 minutes. This procedure was carried out twice in each horse; once with sedation and once without. The horses were sedated with 0.01 mg/kg detomidine and 0.02 mg/kg torbugesic five minutes before the ARTS was applied. Heart and respiratory rates, rectal temperature, the general behaviour of the horse and blood cortisol levels were assessed repeatedly throughout the trial. The results of this study showed that it is feasible and safe to use the ARTS in unsedated horses, even in animals that struggle in the sling or make defensive movements. Defensive movements also occurred in well sedated horses. But Sedation led to a significant reduction in heart and respiratory rates and frequency of defensive movements. Sedated horses were significantly less susceptible to stress caused by suspension in the ARTS.