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Target-controlled infusion in small animals: improving anaesthetic safety
  1. Olivier L. Levionnois, DVM, PhD habil, DipECVAA
  1. Anaesthesiology Division, Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Berne 3012, Switzerland, e-mail:

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THE use of intravenous anaesthetics such as propofol for the maintenance of general anaesthesia has been extensively developed in human medicine but remains sparsely used in veterinary anaesthesia. While propofol is probably the most applied anaesthetic agent for the induction of general anaesthesia in dogs and cats (Brodbelt and others 2008), inhalant anaesthesia remains by far the most used to maintain anaesthesia over a long time period (Brodbelt and others 2008). Nevertheless, intravenous maintenance of general anaesthesia presents some advantages. Some specific indications have been reported, such as thoracic procedures under one-lung ventilation, interventions on the patient's airway, or intracranial surgery (Vaithianadan and Morton 2010). Moreover, intravenous anaesthesia also allows for the maintenance of low levels of anaesthetic depth (sedation) over long periods of time. In this respect, propofol upholds unconsciousness and relaxation at levels of anaesthesia that are compatible with diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This avoids the need for high or repeated dosing of α-2 agonists (eg, medetomidine); and also avoids the necessity for a deeper plane of anaesthetic depth as required for endotracheal intubation if anaesthesia were to be continued under isoflurane. Overall, …

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