An opiate-based anaesthetic technique has been developed for use in dogs with end-stage heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy. It has been used in dogs undergoing translocation of the left latissimus dorsi around the descending thoracic aorta to create an autologous counterpulsation system. Anaesthesia was induced with barbiturate (10 mg/kg thiopentone) and fentanyl (500 micrograms) and maintained by an infusion of fentanyl (0.5 micrograms/kg/minute) [corrected] in addition to halothane (0.1 to 0.5 per cent) and nitrous oxide (20 to 60 per cent). This technique provided safe anaesthesia for major intrathoracic surgery.
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