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Anaesthetic and cardiorespiratory effects of a constant-rate infusion of alfaxalone in desflurane-anaesthetised sheep
  1. M. del Mar Granados, DVM, PhD1,
  2. J. Manuel Domínguez, DVM, PhD1,
  3. A. Fernández-Sarmiento, DVM, PhD1,
  4. F. Javier Funes, DVM1,
  5. J. Morgaz, DVM, PhD1,
  6. R. Navarrete, DVM, PhD1,
  7. J. Ma Carrillo, DVM, PhD2,
  8. M. Rubio, DVM, PhD2,
  9. P. Muñoz-Rascón, DVM1,
  10. I. A. Gómez de Segura, DVM, PhD, Dip ECLAM3 and
  11. R. J. Gómez-Villamandos, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Anaesthesia Unit, Veterinary Faculty, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
  2. 2Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, CEU-Cardenal Herrera University, Valencia, Spain
  3. 3Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  1. E-mail for correspondence: pv2grmam{at}

A prospective, randomised, blinded controlled study was performed to determine the anaesthetic and cardiorespiratory effects of a constant-rate infusion (CRI) of alfaxalone in 12 sheep anaesthetised with desflurane, and undergoing experimental orthopaedic surgery. Sheep were sedated with dexmedetomidine (4 μg/kg, intravenously) and butorphanol (0.3 mg/kg, intravenously). Anaesthesia was induced with alfaxalone (1 mg/kg/minute to effect, intravenously) and maintained with desflurane in oxygen and alfaxalone 0.07 mg/kg/minute or saline for 150 minutes (range 150–166 minutes). The anaesthetic induction dose of alfaxalone, the desflurane expiratory fraction required for anaesthetic maintenance, cardiorespiratory measurements and blood-gases were recorded at predetermined intervals. Quality of sedation, anaesthetic induction and recovery were assessed. The alfaxalone induction dose was 1.7 mg/kg (1.2 to 2.6 mg/kg). The desflurane expiratory fraction was lower (22 per cent) in sheep receiving alfaxalone CRI (P = 0). Also, heart rate (P = 0), cardiac index (P = 0.002), stroke index (P = 0) and contractility (P = 0) were higher, and systemic vascular resistance (P = 0.002) was lower. Although respiratory rate tended to be higher with alfaxalone, there was no difference in PCO2 between the groups. Recovery times were significantly longer in sheep given alfaxalone (25.4 v 9.5 minutes) but recovery quality was similar. Alfaxalone reduced requirements of desflurane and maintained similar cardiorespiratory function, but recovery time was more prolonged.

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