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Objective—To evaluate the effects of a constant rate infusion of remifentanil, alone or in combination with ketamine, in healthy cats anesthetized with isoflurane.

Design—Randomized, controlled, clinical trial.

Animals—23 cats undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy.

Procedures—Cats were premedicated with acepromazine and morphine; anesthesia was induced with propofol and maintained with isoflurane. Cats were given constant rate infusions of remifentanil (20 μg/kg/h [9 μg/lb/h], IV; n = 8), remifentanil and ketamine (0.5 mg/kg [0.23 mg/lb], then 1.8 mg/kg/h [0.82 mg/lb/h], IV; 7), or crystalloid fluids (8). The anesthesiologist was blinded to treatment group, end-tidal isoflurane concentration, and vaporizer setting. Heart rate, systolic arterial blood pressure, respiratory rate, end-tidal partial pressure of CO2, temperature, and end-tidal isoflurane concentration were monitored; recovery scores were assigned.

Results—There were no significant differences among treatment groups with respect to age, body weight, surgery time, anesthesia time, time to extubation, recovery score, or cardiorespiratory variables. End-tidal isoflurane concentration was significantly reduced in cats given remifentanil and ketamine (mean ± SD, 0.63 ± 0.4%), compared with concentration in cats given crystalloid fluids (1.22 ± 0.5%) but not compared with concentration in cats given remifentanil alone (1.03 ± 0.4%). Compared with cats given crystalloid fluids, mean isoflurane requirement was reduced by 48.3% in cats given remifentanil-ketamine and 15.6% in cats given remifentanil alone.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At the dosages administered, a constant rate infusion of remifentanil-ketamine resulted in a significant decrease in the isoflurane requirement in healthy cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy. However, significant differences in cardiovascular variables were not observed among treatment groups.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association