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Lab Anim Sci. 1987 Dec;37(6):736-42.

The effects of pentobarbital, fentanyl-droperidol, ketamine-xylazine and ketamine-diazepam on arterial blood pH, blood gases, mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate in adult male rats.

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  • 1Department of Comparative Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey 17033.


Although anesthetics are known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular depression in humans, these adverse effects rarely have been investigated in laboratory rodents. This study evaluated the effects of four different injectable drugs, pentobarbital, fentanyl-droperidol (Innovar-Vet), ketamine-xylazine and ketamine-diazepam on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems of rats. Results showed marked acidosis, hypercarbia and hypoxia with high doses of Innovar-Vet, moderate respiratory depression with all dosages of pentobarbital and minimal respiratory depression with ketamine-xylazine and ketamine-diazepam. Innovar-Vet, ketamine-xylazine and pentobarbital caused profound hypotension, particularly at high dosages, while ketamine-diazepam caused the least depression in mean arterial blood pressure of all drugs evaluated. None of the drugs studied produced significant alterations in heart rate. Throughout all dosages investigated, the ketamine-diazepam combination showed the least overall effects on ventilation and perfusion of the four parenteral drug combinations studied.

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