To characterize induction and recovery characteristics of 3 commonly used inhalant anesthetics in prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis): isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane.
12 healthy adult prairie rattlesnakes.
In a randomized crossover design, snakes underwent anesthetic induction with 5% isoflurane, 8% sevoflurane, or 18% desflurane, with a washout period of ≥ 7 days between anesthetic events. Anesthetic depth parameters were recorded throughout induction and recovery, including time to loss and return of righting reflex, muscle tone, ability to intubate, response to pressure, and time to return to spontaneous respiration. Every 5 minutes throughout the anesthetic procedures, heart rate, respiratory rate, and percentage expired anesthetic gas were recorded.
No snakes died during the study. Sevoflurane anesthesia resulted in anesthetic gas avoidance behavior in snakes during induction and had the significantly longest recovery time to extubation and time to return of pressure response, compared with the other inhalant anesthetics. Anesthesia with isoflurane resulted in a significantly longer time to return of righting reflex, compared with sevoflurane or desflurane. No significant difference was noted in time to loss of pressure response among the 3 anesthetic gases. Desflurane anesthesia resulted in the significantly quickest loss of righting reflex among the anesthetic protocols; despite this, 4 of 12 desflurane anesthetized snakes did not achieve an anesthetic plane deep enough for intubation.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Isoflurane and sevoflurane, but not desflurane, inhalation anesthesia resulted in consistent and predictable loss of righting reflex and induction of anesthesia deep enough to allow intubation in snakes.