To determine the dose of alfaxalone for IM administration combined with dexmedetomidine and hydromorphone that would allow endoscopic-guided orotracheal intubation in rabbits without causing a decrease in respiratory rate or apnea.
15 sexually intact (9 females and 6 males) healthy Miniature Lop rabbits weighing a mean ± SD of 2.3 ± 0.3 kg and ranging in age from 4 to 9 months.
In a randomized, controlled clinical trial, rabbits received 0.1 mg of hydro-morphone/kg and 0.005 mg of dexmedetomidine/kg, plus alfaxalone at either 2 mg/kg (5 rabbits), 5 mg/kg (5 rabbits), or 7 mg/kg (5 rabbits). Drugs were mixed in a single syringe and administered IM. Semiquantitative rating scales were used to evaluate quality of anesthesia and intubation. Orotracheal intubation was attempted with endoscopy and confirmed by capnography.
The number of successful intubations was 0, 3, and 4 in rabbits receiving 2, 5, and 7 mg of alfaxalone/kg, respectively. Median (range) anesthesia quality scores (scale, 0 to 12; 12 = deepest anesthesia) were 3 (2 to 5), 6 (5 to 6), and 6 (4 to 9) for rabbits receiving 2, 5, and 7 mg of alfaxalone/kg, respectively. The median (range) intubation quality scores (scale, 0 to 3 [ie, intubation not possible to easiest intubation]) were 0 (0 to 0), 2 (0 to 3), and 2 (0 to 3) for rabbits receiving 2, 5, and 7 mg of alfaxalone/kg, respectively. None of the rabbits experienced a decrease in respiratory rate or apnea.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Increasing doses of alfaxalone combined with hydromorphone and dexmedetomidine increased the success rate of endoscopic-guided orotracheal intubation. Increasing the dose of alfaxalone had no effect on respiratory rate.