Guidelines for anesthesia and analgesia:

Dr Christina Dart, Anaesthetist at the University of Sydney teaching hospital at Camden’s
large animal campus, uses the following protocol with regards to pig anaesthesia. These are
used in private practice/industry and the common approach for anaesthetising pigs.
With respect to research work with pigs, the anaesthetic/analgesic regimes used should be
similar. In the current Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for
Scientific Purposes
section 3.3.30-Anesthesia and Surgery and 3.3.33-Post operative care
it confirms this. These are also the protocols that are taught to vet students at university and
the recommended balanced approach to anaesthetics in general within the industry.
Anaesthesia: I believe that you having been using the Zoletil/ketamine/xylazine combinationfor sedation/induction in pigs. As expected from that protocol, recoveries can be rather long.
If that should be an issue for a particular project I recommend reducing the IM dose of Z/K/Xto 0.02-0.03 ml/kg, which might still provide sedation adequate for approaching/handling ofthe animals. Anaesthesia can then be induced parenterally using any of the commoninduction drugs including IV Thiopental 10 mg/ml given at 2.5 mg/kg increments, IV propofol 6mg/kg given at 1 mg/kg increments or IV alfaxan 2 mg/kg at 0.5 mg/kg increments, orinhalation anaesthetics via mask. Maintenance of anaesthesia is best and easiestaccomplished by using inhalation anaesthetics administered via endotracheal tube. Postoperative analgesia: Of the opioid drugs we have been using IM buprenorphine at a doseof 0.005- 0.01 mg/kg. T he dose may have to be increased to 0.05-0.1 mg/kg should pain besevere such after major surgical procedures. Buprenorphine is relatively long acting (8-12hours) however patients should be monitored frequently in order to ensure adequateanalgesia. Butorphanol IM at a dose of 0.1-0.3 mg/kg q 4-6 hrs has also been recommended,but may only be suitable for moderate pain. IM Methadone at a dose of 0.2-0.3 mg/kg hasalso been used. T he methadone dose can be increased to 0.5 mg/kg if needed. We havelittle experience with methadone in swine and it may be possible that the patients maybecome too sedated especially at higher doses. Of the NSAIDS we have been usingphenylbutazone 10-20 mg/kg PO q 12 hrs, or metacam 0.2 mg/kg IV/IM q 24 hrs. Whenusing NSAIDS in swine postoperatively or to treat chronic pain after an initial "loading dose"efforts should be made to reduce the dose to a minimum necessary to control pain. Intraoperative analgesia using opioids can be achieved with CRI fentanyl 50-100mcg/kg/hr orby using transdermal fentanyl by applying the appropriate size patch(s). Fentanyl patchestake 8-12 hours to reach maximum effect and in species other than swine where they can beapplied in the conscious animal they are placed the day before surgery. Alternatively theycan be applied during anaesthesia and analgesia provided parenterally using methadone ormorphine for the first 12 hours post op after which time the fentanyl patch should have "kickedin ". Last but not least, the combination of zoletil/ketamine/xylazine provides analgesia notonly because of xylazine but also because ketamine and tiletamine are analgesic drugs.
From the aspect of analgesia sedation/induction with that combination provides pre-emptiveanalgesia which can be extended by adding opioids into the mixture or after induction ifconsidered necessary." NB: Ketamine/xylazine/telazol combination involves reconstituting 500mg Telazol powder with2.5ml ketamine (100mg/ml) and 2.5mls xylazine (100mg/ml). It is administered at 0.5-1ml per23kgs IM.
Recommendations for anaesthesia/ analgesia in sheep, rabbits and rodents are on thefollowing page.
Sheep - Anaesthesia is usually induced with Zoletil at 12mg/kg IM or 14.4mg/kg IV. An
endotracheal tube is placed and anaesthesia is usually maintained with 2-3% isofluorane.
Alternatively sheep can be anaesthetised with Alfaxan (alfaxalone) @ 1-1.5mg/kg IV andmaintained on isofluorane 2-3%. Analgesia is usually provided using buprenorphine at 0.005mg/kg IV perioperatively andpostoperatively every 6-12 hours if needed. Morphine 0.2mg/kg IV can also be used.
NSAIDS such as carprophen @ 1.5mg/kg IV or meloxicam at 0.2-0.5mg/kg s/c can also beused. Local anaesthesia using bupivacaine can also be used in more painful procedures.
Rabbits - Diazepam/ketamine combination for sedation/light anaesthesia 1-5mg/kg diazepam
and 20-40mg/kg ketamine IM and then mask with isofluorane to maintain or place
Endotracheal tube and maintain on isoflurane. We pre-medicate with atropine 1mg/kg sc.
Zoletil at 5-25mg/kg IM-from light to general anaesthesia depending on dose. Alternatively,
premed with atropine and then induce with isofluorane to maintain-recommend this for
debilitated or depressed animals.
Rodents - We use inhalational anaesthesia-isofluorane or combinations of xylazine/ketamine
or acepromazine/ketamine.
The reason we favour isofluorane over halothane in masking down animals for anaesthesia isthat OH&S wise, isofluorane is a safer drug especially if worried about chronic exposure.
In rabbits and rodents, Buprenorphine or butorphanol can be used for analgesia. Wegenerally use these perioperatively. Ketamine has analgesic properties but we still use anopioid perioperatively. Buprenorphine dose for rabbits: 0.05mg/kg every 6-12 hours s/c
Buprenorphine dose for mice and rats: 0.05-0.1mg/kg every 6-12 hours s/c
Butorphanol dose for rabbits: 0.1-0.5mg/kg every 4-6 hours s/c
Butorphanol dose for rats: 0.5-2mg/kg every 6 hours s/c
Butorphanol dose for mice: 1-5mg/kg every 6 hours s/c
Christina Dart DrVetMED DVSc MVSc MACVSc Diplomate ACVASenior RegistrarRegistered Specialist in Veterinary AnaesthesiaUniversity of Sydney, Camden


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