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Alfaxalone as an induction agent for anaesthesia in terrapins and tortoises
  1. Z. Knotek, DVM, PhD, Dip, ECZM
  1. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Palackého třída 1–3, Brno CZ 612 42, Czech Republic;
  1. E-mail for correspondence: knotekz{at}


The aim of this study was to evaluate short-term intravenous anaesthesia with alfaxalone in chelonians. In the first part of the study, alfaxalone at a dose rate of 5 mg/kg was administered intravenously to 10 adult female red-eared terrapins (Trachemys scripta elegans) following 24 hours of fasting. The induction time, tracheal tube insertion time, surgical plane of anaesthesia interval, and full recovery time were recorded. The head, neck and leg withdrawal reflex was lost within 21.09±8.07 seconds. The mean tracheal tube insertion time, the time of surgical plane of anaesthesia and full recovery time were 27.50±12.96 seconds, 26.40±4.72 minutes and 33.70±4.76 minutes, respectively. In the second part of the study, 50 chelonians (20 red-eared terrapins, 10 Hermann's tortoises, eight spur-thighed tortoises, six marginated tortoises and six Russian tortoises) were treated intravenously with 5 mg/kg alfaxalone after administration of 1 mg/kg meloxicam and 2 mg/kg butorphanol intramuscularly. The head, neck and leg withdrawal reflex was lost within 21.52±6.57 seconds, the endotracheal tube could be inserted within 25.76±8.24 seconds, and the time to deep pain sensation loss was 29.46±9.67 seconds. Intravenous use of alfaxalone proved to be a suitable method of induction for inhalation anaesthesia in terrapins and tortoises.

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