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Levels of Anesthesia


Anesthesia Induction Procedures: Inhalation and Injection


Anesthetic Depth Assessment





Anesthesia Induction and Maintenance

Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals ("The Guide") states that pain assessment and alleviation are integral components of the veterinary care of laboratory animals.1 The definition of anesthesia is the loss of feeling or sensation. It is a dynamic event involving changes in anesthetic depth with respect to an animal's metabolism, surgical stimulation, or variations in the external environment.

The proper choice of anesthetics for surgery and other potentially painful procedures must be determined by a veterinarian. This is based on numerous aspects, including the extent and duration of the procedure, the species and strain, the age, and the physiological status of the animal.

Anesthetics are available as inhalants or injectables. Surgical anesthesia can be accomplished using a combination of injectable and inhalant anesthetics.2

1. Inhalant anest

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The proper use of anesthetics for surgery, or other potentially painful procedures, is crucial not only for the animal's wellbeing, but also for the integrity of the scientific data collected during the procedure. There are many variables that factor into choosing the appropriate anesthetic regiment. The depth of anesthesia must be closely monitored, as each individual animal can respond differently to the drug. With the use of the proper anesthetic and careful monitoring, painful procedures can be accomplished with

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  1. Institute for the Laboratory Animal Research. 2011. Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals, 8th ed. Washington (DC): National Academies Press.
  2. Tsukamoto, A., Serizawa, K., Sato, R., Yamazaki, J., and Inomata, T. 2015. Vital signs during injectable and inhalant anesthesia in mice. Experimental Animals. 64(1). 57-64.
  3. Kent Scientific Corporation. Retrieved from (accessed 10/15/15)
  4. Szczepan B et al. Intraoperative Physiological Monitoring in Rodent Surgical Research. Retrievd from  (accessed 10/15/15)
  5. Preanesthesia, Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Euthanasia. Laboratory Animal Medicine, 2nd ed. Ed Fox, J. G., Anderson, L. C., Loew, F. M., and Quimby, F. W. 2002. Academic Press. San Diego, CA.
  6. Ho, David et al. 2011. Heart Rate and Electrocardiography Monitoring in Mice. Current protocols in mouse biology. 1: 123-139. PMC. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
  7. Smith, W. 1993. Responses of laboratory animals to some injectable anaethetics. Laboratory Animals. 27. 30-39.


Anesthesia Induction

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