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Assessment of anaesthetic depth is vital for safe anaesthesia, and has traditionally been based on clinical signs including eye position, ocular and palpebral reflexes, changes in heart and respiratory rate, muscle tone and response to noxious stimuli (Guedel 1927, Gillespie 1943, Hall and others 2001). During inhalant anaesthesia, the eye is ventromedially rotated during light or moderate planes of anaesthesia, and is central during inadequate or excessively deep planes of anaesthesia (Guedel 1927, Hall and others 2001). The aim of this study was to determine the eye position of cats anaesthetised with alfaxalone (AFX) or propofol (PRO) to a sufficient depth to perform orotracheal intubation.
The study was approved by the University of Bristol Ethics Committee, and informed, written, owner consent was obtained. Healthy cats (American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status 1) presented for routine neutering were enrolled in the study. Cats were randomly allocated to receive either AFX or PRO for induction of anaesthesia. All cats received intramuscular premedication of 0.03 mg/kg acepromazine (ACP injection 2 mg/ml; Novartis Animal Health UK; UK) and 0.15 mg/kg morphine (morphine sulphate injection BP 10 mg in 1 ml, Martindale Pharmaceuticals, UK). Thirty minutes later, sedation was assessed and scored using a …