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Small mammal anaesthesia nursing

02 April 2020
18 mins read
Volume 11 · Issue 3
Table 1. Normal resting biological values for common small mammal species


This article provides an outline of special considerations and requirements for the anaesthesia of small exotic mammals. This includes the process from pre-anaesthesia, induction, maintenance and monitoring, and recovery. Most small mammal species can be anaesthetised using revised techniques and equipment from companion animal anaesthesia, however the requirements for modified equipment and monitoring are discussed in this article.

A full pre-anaesthetic examination should be performed in any animal undergoing anaesthesia. Any patient undergoing an elective procedure should be in good health with no obvious external abnormalities such as poor haircoat, ocular, aural or nasal discharge or abnormal ambulation. Auscultation of the heart and lungs should be performed and can be facilitated by the use of neonatal or paediatric stethoscopes in smaller patients. Normal physiological values can be found in Table 1. Rectal temperatures can be taken in larger patients and ‘well-behaved’ smaller patients. In non-elective procedures a thorough pre-anaesthetic examination can help identify comorbidities that may affect the anaes-thesia, and these can be planned for appropriately. During the physical examination it is essential that a bodyweight is obtained for the patient in order to calculate anaesthetic drugs as necessary as well as calculate cardiopulmonary resuscitation drugs prior to induction of anaesthesia.

Compiled from Brust and Pye (2013) Keeble (2011), Tully (2009), Wolf (2009), Vennen and Mitchel (2009), Heatley and Harris (2009) and Heatley (2009)

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