Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Anesthesia: protocols

Contributor(s): David Perpinan, Molly Varga

Introduction

  • A large number of different anesthetic protocols have been described for rabbits, and it is not possible to list all of them.
  • Many protocols have been described for research or experimental purposes, without endotracheal intubation or IV catheter placement, and some of them did not even assess recovery.
  • Balanced anesthesia combines several agents and helps reduce the dose of each agent. Balanced anesthesia is strongly recommended in rabbits and provides the best results.
  • If only one or two agents are used for anesthesia, higher doses are needed and the risk of side effects increases.
  • Multimodal analgesia, using several analgesics, is also preferred. In most instances, analgesic drugs are included in the anesthetic protocol.
  • Anesthetic protocols allowing for IV catheterization and endotracheal (ET) intubation are preferred, as they allow:
    • The use of IV induction agents.
    • Better ability to monitor anesthesia, eg capnograph, and better use of maintenance gases. This carries less overall anesthetic risk.
    • Better ability to respond to emergencies.
  • An ideal anesthetic protocol with IV catheterization, ET intubation and surgical anesthesia should include:
    • A sedative +/- an analgesic, given IM or SC.
    • An inducing agent (ideally given IV).
    • Maintenance agent (ideally gases).
  • Alternatively, there are protocols that omit one of those steps, particularly if IV catheter placement and/or endotracheal intubation are not considered necessary.
  • Parasympatholytics, eg atropine, glycopyrrolate, are not included in anesthetic protocols and are not recommended for rabbits unless there is a specific reason for their use. Many rabbits produce endogenous atropinase and the effects of atropine clinically may be unpredictable.

Pharmacologic agents

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Routes of administration

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Other considerations

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Protocol 1

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Protocol 2

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Protocol 3

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Alternative protocols

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Santos M, Viñuela A, Vela A A et al (2016) Single-syringe ketamine-propofol for induction of anesthesia in rabbits. Vet Anaesthesia Analgesia 43 (5), 561-565 PubMed.
  • Mazaheri-Khameneh R, Sarrafzadeh-Rezaei F, Asri-Rezaei S et al (2012) Comparison of time to loss of consciousness and maintenance of anesthesia following intraosseous and intravenous administration of propofol in rabbits. J Am Vet Med Assoc 241 (1), 73-80 PubMed.
  • Wenger S (2012) Anesthesia and analgesia in rabbits and rodents. J Exotic Pet Med 21 (1), 7-16 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Eatwell K (2014) Analgesia, Sedation and Anesthesia. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 138-159.
  • Heard D (2014) Lagomorpha (Rabbits, Hares, and Pykas). In: Zoo Animal and Wildlife Immobilization and Anesthesia. 2nd edn. Eds: West G, Heard D & Caulkett N. Wiley Blackwell, USA. pp 879-891.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Elsevier, UK. pp 410.


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