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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