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Vet Rec. 2012 Aug 4;171(5):125. doi: 10.1136/vr.100487. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Anaesthetic and cardiorespiratory effects of a constant-rate infusion of alfaxalone in desflurane-anaesthetised sheep.

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Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Anaesthesia Unit, Veterinary Faculty, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain.


A prospective, randomised, blinded controlled study was performed to determine the anaesthetic and cardiorespiratory effects of a constant-rate infusion (CRI) of alfaxalone in 12 sheep anaesthetised with desflurane, and undergoing experimental orthopaedic surgery. Sheep were sedated with dexmedetomidine (4 μg/kg, intravenously) and butorphanol (0.3 mg/kg, intravenously). Anaesthesia was induced with alfaxalone (1 mg/kg/minute to effect, intravenously) and maintained with desflurane in oxygen and alfaxalone 0.07 mg/kg/minute or saline for 150 minutes (range 150-166 minutes). The anaesthetic induction dose of alfaxalone, the desflurane expiratory fraction required for anaesthetic maintenance, cardiorespiratory measurements and blood-gases were recorded at predetermined intervals. Quality of sedation, anaesthetic induction and recovery were assessed. The alfaxalone induction dose was 1.7 mg/kg (1.2 to 2.6 mg/kg). The desflurane expiratory fraction was lower (22 per cent) in sheep receiving alfaxalone CRI (P=0). Also, heart rate (P=0), cardiac index (P=0.002), stroke index (P=0) and contractility (P=0) were higher, and systemic vascular resistance (P=0.002) was lower. Although respiratory rate tended to be higher with alfaxalone, there was no difference in PCO2 between the groups. Recovery times were significantly longer in sheep given alfaxalone (25.4 v 9.5 minutes) but recovery quality was similar. Alfaxalone reduced requirements of desflurane and maintained similar cardiorespiratory function, but recovery time was more prolonged.

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