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Use of atracurium and its reversal with neostigmine in 14 pet rabbits undergoing ophthalmic surgery: a retrospective study
  1. Chiara Adami1,
  2. Rick F Sanchez2 and
  3. Paolo Monticelli1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL97TA, UK
  2. 2 Specialistische Dierenkliniek Utrecht (SDU), Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. E-mail for correspondenceDepartment of Clinical Sciences and Services, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL97TA, UK ; cadami{at}


The objective of this retrospective study was to report the clinical use of atracurium and its reversal with neostigmine in pet rabbits. The medical records of 14 rabbits undergoing anaesthesia for ophthalmic surgery were located through a search of the hospital’s database. Demographic data and data pertaining to the use of the neuromuscular blocker and its reversal were analysed. After intravenous administration of 0.44±0.4 mg/kg atracurium (total dose), 11 rabbits experienced at least one of the following cardiovascular responses: hypotension, defined as systolic arterial pressure less than 75 mmHg (n=6), hypotension with decreased heart rate (HR) (n=1), hypotension with increased HR (n=1), decreased arterial blood pressure (ABP) without hypotension (n=6), decreased ABP with decreased HR (n=1), or increased HR (n=2, ABP reading could not be taken). Two of these 11 rabbits also experienced severe intraoperative hypothermia. The neuromuscular block was monitored with a train-of-four nerve-stimulation pattern, and reversed, with intramuscular 0.01–0.045 mg/kg neostigmine and 0.01–0.02 mg/kg glycopyrronium, after the return of at least two out of four muscular twitches following nerve stimulation. Decrease in ABP and possibly hypothermia are likely intraoperative complications when clinical doses of atracurium are administered to pet rabbits. Measures should be taken to detect their occurrence in order to treat them promptly.

  • pet rabbits
  • neuromuscular blocking agents
  • cardiovascular anaesthetic complications
  • cataract surgery
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was conducted under approval of the Social Science Research Ethical Review Board (SSRERB) of the Royal Veterinary College (licence number: URN SR 2017-1275). The manuscript (number CSS 01875) was approved for publication by the Vice Principal for Research of the Royal Veterinary College for compliance with Good Research Practice Policy on Publications.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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