Objective—To determine anesthetic techniques and
the drugs used to provide anesthesia and analgesia to
Sample Population—367 members of the
Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians.
Procedure—1,091 members listed in the 2002 directory
of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian
Veterinarians were asked to complete a questionnaire
regarding anesthesia and analgesia.
Results—367 of 1,091 (33.6%) individuals completed
the questionnaire; 88.8% used inhalants (particularly
isoflurane) for anesthesia, and ketamine, propofol, and
butorphanol were the most commonly used injectable
agents. Intubation, fluids, and having a dedicated
anesthetist were most commonly used for patient
support, and pulse oximetry and Doppler ultrasonography
were most commonly used for monitoring.
Respiratory depression, difficulty monitoring anesthetic
depth, prolonged recovery, and hypothermia were
the most frequent complications. Nearly all respondents
believed that reptiles feel pain, but analgesics
were used infrequently for many reasons.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Providing anesthesia
in reptiles is difficult, especially regarding anesthetic
depth and vital parameters, and methods of support
are used less frequently than in domestic species.
Provision of analgesia is uncommon. Research regarding
pain and its assessment, response to analgesics,
and drug pharmacokinetics is needed. Dissemination
of this information to practitioners needs to be
improved for enhancement of the standard of care for
reptiles. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:547–552)