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Catherine Williams

Anaesthetic induction with alfaxalone in the ball python (Python regius): dose response and effect of injection site

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Objective To characterise the minimum dose of intramuscular alfaxalone required to facilitate intubation for mechanical ventilation, and to investigate the impact of cranial versus caudal injection on anaesthetic depth.

Study design Randomised crossover study.

Animals Six healthy juvenile ball pythons (Python regius).

Methods Three dosages (10, 20 and 30 mg kg(-1)) of alfaxalone were administered to each python in a caudal location with a minimum 2 weeks washout. Induction and recovery were monitored by assessing muscle tone, righting reflex, response to a noxious stimulus and the ability to intubate. A subsequent experiment assessed the influence of injection site by comparing administration of 20 mg kg(-1) alfaxalone in a cranial location (1 cm cranial to the heart) with the caudal site. Respiration rate was monitored throughout, and when intubation was possible, snakes were mechanically ventilated.

Results Regardless of dose and injection site, maximum effect was reached within 10.0 +/- 2.7 minutes. When administered at the caudal injection site, intubation was only successful after a dosage of 30 mg kg(-1), which is higher than in previous reports for other reptiles. However, intubation was possible in all cases after 7.2 +/- 1.6 minutes upon cranial administration of 20 mg kg(-1), and anaesthetic duration was significantly lengthened (p <0.001). Both 30 mg kg(-1) at the caudal site and 20 mg kg(-1) at the cranial site led to apnoea approximately 10 minutes postinjection, at which time the snakes were intubated and mechanically ventilated.

Conclusions and clinical relevance Alfaxalone provided rapid, smooth induction when administered intramuscularly to pythons, and may serve as a useful induction agent prior to provision of volatile anaesthetics. The same dosage injected in the cranial site led to deeper anaesthesia than when injected caudally, suggesting that shunting to the liver and first- pass metabolism of alfaxalone occur when injected caudally, via the renal portal system.

TidsskriftVeterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Sider (fra-til)329-337
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - maj 2018

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