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A comparison of anaesthetic recoveries in cats following induction with either alfaxalone or ketamine and diazepam

Authors: Walsh V, Gieseg MA, Hon H, Bridges J
Publication: New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 103-109, May 2014
Publisher: Taylor and Francis


AIM: To determine if cats anaesthetised with alfaxalone have different recoveries to cats anaesthetised with a combination of ketamine and diazepam.

METHODS: Anaesthesia for ovariohysterectomy was induced in cats with either alfaxalone (n=23) or a combination of ketamine and diazepam (n=22). All cats were premedicated with combinations of acepromazine and morphine. Recoveries were scored using a categorical grading scheme applied to 18 parameters over 60 minutes following extubation. The parameters scored covered movement, sensitivity to touch, sound and light, body position, sneezing and vocalisation. One person scored all recoveries and they were blinded to the induction drug used. Scores were compared between drugs at different times using the Kruskal–Wallis rank sum test.

RESULTS: Recovery scores were not normally distributed. Analysis of the data using the Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test revealed that cats induced with alfaxalone showed an increase in recovery scores at 5 minutes for pawing at the head (p=0.001). No parameters differed significantly at 10 and 20 minutes. For cats anaesthetised with ketamine and diazepam there was an increase at 30 minutes in pacing, jerky sudden movements, unsettledness and increased sensitivity to touch at the surgical site and on the head (p≤0.01). At 60 minutes cats anaesthetised with ketamine and diazepam still showed an increase in unsettledness compared to those cats anaesthetised with alfaxalone (p=0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that recoveries of cats following alfaxalone induction are significantly different to recoveries after induction with ketamine and diazepam. Overall, cats induced with ketamine and diazepam had more active and unsettled recoveries than alfaxalone over the 60-minute period observed.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Cats recovering from alfaxalone anaesthesia have more settled recoveries than cats recovering from ketamine and diazepam anaesthesia. If a quiet settled recovery is desired following a surgical procedure, alfaxalone is likely to be a better choice than ketamine and diazepam.

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