Monkey Anesthesia


The technical portion of anesthetizing monkeys is quite simple. It is the mechanical part that will make things among the most difficult your will encounter. Simply catching the monkey will be the most difficult part. They are very smart, very fast, and very nasty when agitated. Everyone talks about using fishing nets to catch them. In most cases the monkeys simply hold onto the rim of the net and prevent it from covering them. I have seen it work quite well to catch them in the net in the middle of a jump. Usually the handler will do this best as they will be able to time the jump and "know the monkey" better than anyone. Once in the net, get them quickly into as small a cage as possible for transfer. If no transfer is needed, a large towel, blanket, or rug can be thrown over the net and the monkey restrained against the floor or table while an injectable anesthetic is given. Monkeys presented or transported in cages can be given gas anesthesia. I put the entire cage in a clear plastic bag and use the bag as an induction chamber.

Monkey presented in pet carrierPet carrier inside bagOnce asleep, maintain by mask

Small or cooperative monkeys can be put directly into an induction chamber.

Monkey owners will tell you how well behaved their pet is and that they will hold it for you while you give it an injection or put the mask on it to make it fall asleep. This will not work. I believe that the monkey is well behaved at home but they very quickly become extremely agitated when they are brought into the unfamiliar surrounding of your office. If such a monkey gets loose, it will make a Carthaginean mess of your office and very likely injury itself in the process.

Make appointments for these animals when no other pets will be in the waiting room or have then come in another entrance.

I have darted monkeys using the Telinject system. It is not a good choice but the only choice in some instances. The only safe place to dart a monkey is in the back half of the thigh. It can be done from the lateral or medial aspect.

Once induction is achieved, they should be intubated and maintained on gas anesthesia. If induction was with an injectable agent, you will only need to maintain them on oxygen until they show signs that the injectable agent is wearing off. Then the volatile agent can be turned on and adjusted as needed.

FIRST CHOICE: Induction chamber. INDUCTION: Isoflurane of halothane 5%, nitrous oxide at 3L/min, oxygen at 2L/min. MAINTENANCE: Mask for very short procedures, or intubate for longer procedures. Isoflurane or halothane 1%, Nitrous oxide 1L/min Oxygen 1L/min.

SECOND CHOICE: TELAZOL given at 3 mg per pound intramuscularly. I mix small animal atropine with this at 1 cc per 50 lbs. Then intubate and maintain as above.

Allow the monkey to wake up in the transfer cage to lessen the number of times it must be handled.


Return to Homepage