71 (3) 183-194

ANESTHESIA IN REPTILES. Part 1. Injection Anesthesia
T. Bouts, F. Gasthuys

The first part of the article gives a review of injection anesthesia in reptiles. The specific anatomy and physiology of reptiles are briefly described, along with their pre-anesthetic evaluation. Drugs used for pre-medication, muscle relaxation, local anesthesia and the induction of general anesthesia are discussed. The last section deals with analgesia in reptiles. Chelonians are relatively difficult to anesthetize so injection anesthesia is of great value in this species. Midazolam/ketamine ore an ά2-agonist (medetomidine, xylazine) / ketamine combination can be used successfully. Propofol IV or IO is the agent of choice for induction and minor surgeries not exceeding 20 minutes. In large tortoises (eg. Aldabrachelys gigantean) a muscle relaxant may be indicated to facilitate handling of the head and intubation. Ketamine and zolazepam/tiletamine (zoletil, tilazol) IM are indicated as premedication in snakes. Propofol IV and even methoxital IM or SC can be used for induction and small interventions. In lizards, easy access to the tail and abdominal veins assure intravenous access. For this reason, propofol is used for induction and smaller surgical interventions. Ketamine and alphaloxone/alphadolone IM are good alternatives. Since problems often occur with gas induction, injection anesthesia is usually obligatory in these species before inhalation anesthesia can be performed.

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