OBJECTIVE To evaluate the anesthetic and cardiorespiratory effects of IM alfaxalone and isoflurane administration in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) and compare use of these agents with use of manual restraint.
ANIMALS 42 healthy budgerigars.
PROCEDURES For dose comparison, birds received alfaxalone (5 or 10 mg/kg [2.27 or 4.54 mg/lb], IM; groups A5 and A10, respectively; n = 6/group). For treatment comparison, birds received alfaxalone (10 mg/kg, IM) or isoflurane (via face mask) or were manually restrained (groups A, I, and M, respectively; n = 10/group). Data were obtained on onset, degree, and duration of sedation or anesthesia; heart and respiratory rates; and recovery times. Birds in the treatment comparison underwent physical examination and blood gas analysis.
RESULTS All group A5 birds became sedate, but not recumbent. In group A10, 5 of 6 birds lost the righting reflex; however, none lost the noxious stimulus response. Median time to initial effects was significantly shorter and mean time to complete recovery was significantly longer in group A10 than in group A5. Heart and respiratory rates in group A10 remained clinically acceptable; however, some birds had signs of excitement during induction and recovery. Times to initial effects, recumbency, and complete recovery were significantly longer, yet clinically practical, in group A than in group I. Plasma lactate concentrations were significantly higher in group M than in groups A and I.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Alfaxalone administered IM at 10 mg/kg produced effective sedation in healthy budgerigars and may be a viable alternative to isoflurane and manual restraint for brief, minimally invasive procedures. Brief manual restraint resulted in a significant increase in plasma lactate concentration.