Anaesthesia and analgesia

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Sedation and anaesthesia are essential components of veterinary care of reptiles. Sedation facilitates handling and enhances the quality and safety of diagnostic procedures, while anaesthesia enables surgery and other painful or invasive procedures. This chapter considers anatomy and physiology, pre-anaesthetic considerations, supportive care, inhalant and injectable anaesthetics, recommended protocols, recovery and analgesia.

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12.2 An accurate weight should be obtained for all patients.
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12.3 In lizards and turtles the glottis is located immediately caudal to the fleshy tongue, seen here in a bearded dragon.
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12.4 In snakes the glottis is located far rostrally, just above the tongue, seen here in a boa constrictor.
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12.5 An intubated boa constrictor. Note the use of an uncuffed tube.
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12.6 An anaesthetized monitor lizard monitored using a cloacal temperature probe, Doppler flow probe, electrocardiography and capnography.
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12.7 Assessing anaesthetic depth. Typical sequence of loss of muscle tone and reflexes, with correlation to stages of anaesthesia.
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12.9 Anaesthetic induction with propofol injected into the tail vein of a boa constrictor.
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12.10 A butterfly needle may be taped in place to allow fluid administration or bolus top-up of propofol into the ventral tail vessels.
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12.13 Recoveries may be prolonged owing to slow metabolism, sluggish circulation, intracardiac shunting, hypothermia and hypoventilation. Maintaining body temperature and assisting ventilation as required are important.
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