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Companion Animal Practice
Anaesthesia and analgesia in rabbits and rodents
  1. Lesa Longley

    Lesa Longley graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R[D]SVS) in Edinburgh in 1998. After several years in general practice, including a secondopinion exotics centre, she returned to the R(D)SVS to undertake a small animal internship. She is currently participating in the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's residency programme at Edinburgh. She holds the RCVS certificate in zoological medicine.


ANAESTHESIA and analgesia is extremely useful in small mammals, enabling many diagnostic techniques and surgical procedures to be performed. However, it is associated with a high risk of morbidity and mortality in these species, and there is much inter- and intraspecies variation in response to anaesthetic agents. Preanaesthetic assessment of a patient's clinical condition and supportive care perianaesthetically are paramount to ensure a successful outcome. This article discusses the risks associated with small mammal anaesthesia and how they may be minimised, and describes a number of anaesthetic protocols for the commonly presented species. Most drugs used in rabbits and other small mammals are not licensed for use in these animals.

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