Alemán-Laporte, J., Bandini, L. A., Garcia-Gomes, M. S. et al. 2020. Combination of ketamine and xylazine with opioids and acepromazine in rats: Physiological changes and their analgesic effect analysed by ultrasonic vocalization. Laboratory Animals 54(2), 171–182.

In this study, the effect of four anaesthetic protocols that included the combination of xylazine (X) and ketamine (K) with acepromazine (A) and opioids (methadone (Me), morphine (Mo) or tramadol (T)) was evaluated in laboratory rats of both sexes. Ultrasonic vocalization (USV) was used as an indicator of pain during the recovery period. The objective was to evaluate the physiological parameters and the analgesic effect of each protocol to determine which protocol was the safest and fulfil the requirements of a balanced anaesthesia. The better protocols were the XKA protocol for both sexes and the XKMe protocol for females because the combinations achieve surgical plane of anaesthesia in rats. However, pain assessment during the formalin test revealed that rats anaesthetized with XKA produced more numbers of USV, suggesting that it is not a good protocol for the control of immediate postoperative pain. All protocols produced depression in body temperature and respiratory and heart rates, and had important effects, such as micturition and maintenance of open eyes. Only rats anaesthetized with XKA protocol did not present piloerection. These results demonstrated that good monitoring and care during anaesthesia must be included to prevent complications that compromise the life of the animal and to ensure a good recovery. The inclusion of analgesia in anaesthesia protocols must be used routinely, ensuring minimal presence of pain and thus more reliable results in the experimental procedures.

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