Phillips, B. E., Posner, L. P., Lewbart, G. A. et al. 2017. Effects of alfaxalone administered intravenously to healthy yearling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) at three different doses. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 250(8), 909-917.

OBJECTIVE To compare physiologic and anesthetic effects of alfaxalone administered IV to yearling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) at 3 different doses. DESIGN Randomized crossover study. ANIMALS 9 healthy yearling loggerhead sea turtles. PROCEDURES Animals received each of 3 doses of alfaxalone (3 mg/kg [1.4 mg/lb], 5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], or 10 mg/kg [4.5 mg/lb]) administered IV in randomly assigned order, with a minimum 7-day washout period between doses. Endotracheal intubation was attempted following anesthetic induction, and heart rate, sedation depth, cloacal temperature, and respirations were monitored. Times to first effect, induction, first voluntary muscle movement, first respiration, and recovery were recorded. Venous blood gas analysis was performed at 0 and 30 minutes. Assisted ventilation was performed if apnea persisted 30 minutes following induction. RESULTS Median anesthetic induction time for all 3 doses was 2 minutes. Endotracheal intubation was accomplished in all turtles following induction. Heart rate significantly increased after the 3- and 5-mg/kg doses were administered. Median intervals from alfaxalone administration to first spontaneous respiration were 16, 22, and 54 minutes for the 3-, 5-, and 10-mg/kg doses, respectively, and median intervals to recovery were 28, 46, and 90 minutes, respectively. Assisted ventilation was required for 1 turtle after receiving the 5-mg/kg dose and for 5 turtles after receiving the 10-mg/kg dose. The 10-mg/kg dose resulted in respiratory acidosis and marked hypoxemia at 30 minutes. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE IV alfaxalone administration to loggerhead sea turtles resulted in a rapid anesthetic induction and dose-dependent duration of sedation. Assisted ventilation is recommended if the 10 mg/kg dose is administered.