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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Intravenous sufentanil-midazolam versus sevoflurane anaesthesia in medetomidine pre-medicated Himalayan rabbits undergoing ovariohysterectomy

Hedenqvist, Patricia; Jensen Waern, Marianne; Fahlman, Åsa; Hagman, Ragnvi; Edner, Anna


ObjectiveTo compare physiological effects of sufentanil-midazolam with sevoflurane for surgical anaesthesia in medetomidine premedicated rabbits.Study designProspective, randomized controlled experimental study.AnimalsEighteen female Himalayan rabbits, weight 2.10.1kg.MethodsPremedication with 0.1mg kg(-1) medetomidine and 5mg kg(-1) carprofen subcutaneously, was followed by intravenous anaesthetic induction with sufentanil (2.3g mL(-1)) and midazolam (0.45mg mL(-1)). After endotracheal intubation, anaesthesia was maintained with sufentanil-midazolam (n=9) or sevoflurane (n=9). Ovariohysterectomy was performed. Intermittent positive pressure ventilation was performed as required. Physiological variables were studied perioperatively. Group means of physiologic data were generated for different anaesthetic periods. Data were compared for changes from sedation, and between groups by anova. Post-operatively, 0.05mg kg(-1) buprenorphine was administered once and 5mg kg(-1) carprofen once daily for 2-3days. Rabbits were examined and weighed daily until one week after surgery.ResultsSmooth induction of anaesthesia was achieved within 5minutes. Sufentanil and midazolam doses were 0.5g kg(-1) and 0.1mg kg(-1), during induction and 3.9g kg(-1)hour(-1) and 0.8mg kg(-1)hour(-1) during surgery, respectively. End-tidal sevoflurane concentration was 2.1% during surgery. Assisted ventilation was required in nine rabbits receiving sufentanil-midazolam and four receiving sevoflurane. There were no differences between groups in physiologic data other than arterial carbon dioxide.In rabbits receiving sevoflurane, mean arterial pressure decreased pre-surgical intervention, heart rate increased 25% during and after surgery and body weight decreased 4% post-operatively. Post-operative problems sometimes resulted from catheterization of the ear artery.ConclusionSevoflurane and sufentanil-midazolam provided surgical anaesthesia of similar quality. Arterial blood pressure was sustained during sufentanil-midazolam anaesthesia and rabbits receiving sevoflurane lost body weight following ovariohysterectomy. Mechanical ventilation was required with both anaesthetic regimens.Clinical relevanceAnaesthesia with sufentanil-midazolam in medetomidine premedicated healthy rabbits is useful in the clinical and the research setting, as an alternative to sevoflurane.


ovariohysterectomy; rabbit anaesthesia; sevoflurane; total intravenous anaesthesia sufentanil-midazolam

Published in

Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
2015, Volume: 42, number: 4, pages: 377-385