ISSN 2398-2985      

Anesthesia: protocols

6guinea pig

Introduction

  • A large number of different anesthetic protocols have been described for guinea pigs, 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 guinea pigs 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.
    • Intubation is difficult in guinea pigs.
  • 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 exotic small mammals unless there is a specific reason for their use.

Pharmacologic agents

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Routes of administration

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Other considerations

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Protocols

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Alternative protocols

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Schmitz S, Tacke S, Guth B et al (2016) Comparison of physiological parameters and anaesthesia specific observations during isoflurane, ketamine-xylazine or medetomidine-midazolam-fentanyl anaesthesia in male guinea pigs. PLOS ONE 11 (9), e0161258 PubMed.
  • Hawkins M G (2014) Advances in exotic mammal clinical therapeutics.  J Exot Pet Med 23, 39-49 PubMed.
  • Jones KL (2012) Therapeutic review: alfaxalone. J Exot Pet Med 21 (4), 347-353 VetMedResource.
  • Wenger S (2012) Anesthesia and analgesia in rabbits and rodents. J Exotic Pet Med 21 (1), 7-16 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Plumb D (2015) Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 8th edn. Wiley Blackwell. pp 1296.
  • Hawkins M G & Pascoe P J (2012) Anesthesia, Analgesia and Sedation of Small Mammals. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, USA. pp 429-451.

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