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The involvement of the adrenal gland in short- and long-term adaptation of organisms to stress-inducing agents is known. A number of studies have shown that anaesthetics might regulate these systems and, consequently, influence serum glucocorticoid concentrations in rabbits (González Gil and others 2001).
In order to assess the cortico-adrenal response to different anaesthetics mixtures in rabbits, 10 New Zealand White rabbits maintained under conventional conditions (12/12 light/dark, 20–22°C, 50–55 per cent relative humidity, 10–15 air changes/hour), were assigned to four treatment groups (n = 10/group). The experimental protocols adhered to the Council of EU (European Union) rules, and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the Veterinary Faculty of Madrid at Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain.
Treatment order was randomised, and each animal received all treatments with a minimum interexperiment interval of 10 days. The groups were: control group (C), 1 ml normal saline solution; group K/F, ketamine (25 mg kg−1, Imalgene 1000, Merial, Barcelona, Spain) and fentanyl (0.02 mg kg−1, Fentanest, Kern Pharma, Barcelona, Spain); group F/M, fentanyl (0.02 mg kg−1) and medetomidine (0.2 mg kg−1, Domtor, Pfizer, Madrid, Spain); and group F/M/D, fentanyl (0.02 mg kg−1), medetomidine (0.2 mg kg−1) and diazepam (1 mg kg−1, Valium, Roche Farma, Madrid, Spain). The dosages were based upon preliminary studies and from a review of previous anaesthetics studies using rabbits (Baumgartner and others 2010).
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