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THE effects of short-acting anaesthetics, as propofol and alfaxalone, on adrenal function have not been well elucidated in New Zealand white (NZW) rabbits. Anaesthetics may have different effects on cortical-adrenal function (González Gil and others 2001). In order to assess the response of adrenal cortex to these anaesthetics in rabbits, data were collected on serum corticosterone and cortisol levels of 30 NZW rabbits (Granja San Bernardo, MDL, Navarra). All the rabbits were clinically healthy before the study. Animals showed no serological evidence of pathology, and they were free from recognised pathogens. To minimise stress, the rabbits were handled daily for one week before the experiment began. They were housed in individual wire rod floored cages of stainless steel measuring 48 × 61 × 46 cm. The rabbits were maintained under conventional conditions (12/12 hours light/dark, 20 to 22°C; 50 to 55 per cent relative humidity; 10 to 15 air changes/hour) and were assigned to three treatments groups, each containing 10 animals, and each group was given one of the following solutions intravenously: group 1, 2.5 ml saline solution (control); group 2, 10 mg/kg propofol (PropoClear) and group 3, 3 mg/kg alfaxalone (Alfaxan, Vétoquinol). The doses were based upon preliminary studies and a review of previous anaesthetic studies utilising laboratory rabbits (Allweiler and others 2010, Grint and others 2008). A 24G intravenous catheter (Therumo) was placed in the marginal ear vein under local anaesthesia applied over the vein with lidocaine/prilocaine cream …
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