Eshar, D., Beaufrère, H. 2020. Anesthetic effects of alfaxalone–ketamine, alfaxalone–ketamine–dexmedetomidine, and alfaxalone–butorphanol–midazolam administered intramuscularly in five striped palm squirrels (Funambulus pennantii). JAALAS 59(4), 384-392.

Injectable anesthesia protocols for five striped palm squirrels (Funambulus pennantii) are poorly described in the literature. In this study, male intact squirrels received intramuscular injections of either alfaxalone (6 mg/kg) and ketamine (40 mg/ kg; AK group, n = 8); alfaxalone (6 mg/kg), ketamine (20 mg/kg), and dexmedetomidine (0.1 mg/kg; AKD group, n = 8); or alfaxalone (8 mg/kg), butorphanol (1 mg/kg), and midazolam (1 mg/kg; ABM group, n = 8). Atipamezole (0.15 mg/kg IM) and flumazenil (0.1 mg/kg IM) were administered 40 min after anesthesia induction (defined as loss of the righting reflex) with AKD and ABM, respectively. Heart rate, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, and reflexes were recorded every 5 min during anesthesia. Anesthetic induction was rapid in all groups (AK: median, 49 s; range, 33 to 60 s; AKD, 60 s; 54 to 70 s; and ABM, 15 s; 5 to 58 s). The anesthetic duration (from induction to full recovery) for the AK group was 62 ± 3 min (mean ± 1 SD). There was no statistically significant difference between the ABM and AKD groups regarding recovery time after partial antagonist administration and was 51 ± 5 and 48 ± 5 min, respectively. All AK animals showed twitching and abnormal vocalization during recovery. The righting reflex was absent in all squirrels for 20 min in the AK treatment group and throughout the 40 min anesthetic period in the AKD and ABM groups. The frontlimb withdrawal response was absent in all squirrels for the 40 min anesthetic period in the AKD and ABM groups, with variable responses for the AK treatment. All tested protocols in this study provided safe and effective immobilization in five striped palm squirrels, but oxygen and thermal support were indicated. Anesthetic depth must be determined before surgical procedures are performed in palm squirrels anesthetized by using these regimens.

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