Ambar, N., Eshar, D., Shrader, T. C. et al. 2020. Anesthetic effects of intramuscular alfaxalone–ketamine in naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber). JAALAS 59(5), 539-545.

In this study, adult intact male and female (n = 10) naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) were anesthetized by using a combination of ketamine (20 mg/kg IM), and alfaxalone (4.0 mg/kg IM). Induction and recovery times were recorded. Vital parameters, including heart rate, respiratory rate, and reflexes, were monitored every 5 min during the anesthetic period. Anesthetic induction was smooth and rapid. Induction time was significantly longer in male rats (median, 325 s; range, 180 to 385 s) than in females (median, 145 s; range, 118 to 180 s). In addition, overall duration of loss of righting reflex was shorter in male mole rats (median, 50 min; range, 36 to 65 min) than females (median, 70 min; range, 60 to 85 min). Males largely had intact withdrawal reflexes, whereas females showed variable loss of both forelimb and hindlimb withdrawal reflexes. Neither recovery time (mean ± 1 SD, 16 ± 13 min) nor vital parameters differed between sexes. None of animals showed any anesthesia-related adverse responses. According to these findings, intramuscular AK is a safe and effective protocol that provides brief, light anesthesia in male naked mole rats and deeper anesthesia in females. We recommend adding analgesics when this AK protocol is used for pain-inducing or invasive procedures, and further studies evaluating higher doses and different combinations are indicated.

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