Reptile Anesthesia

Iguanas Snakes

FIRST CHOICE I use an induction chamber for nearly all reptiles. Isoflurane is the best agent to use here with Halothane being a close second. This is very smooth, very reliable, and has a short recovery. 5% isoflurane or halothane and 5L/min of oxygen. I do not use Nitrous oxide.

I intubate them

Iguana Airway Intubated

and maintain them on 1.5% isoflurane or halothane and 1L/min oxygen. I use a non-rebreathing system for these "bagging" them to a pressure of 10 cm-water every 30 seconds to assist their respirations. At the end of the procedure I let them breath room air, not pure oxygen. I use an ambubag and continue ventilation at every 30 seconds. Reptiles are stimulated to breath by falling blood oxygen levels not increasing carbon dioxide levels. That is why pure oxygen will postpone spontaneous ventilation. Putting them on a heating pad will increase their metabolism and make them wake up faster.

SECOND CHOICE Telazol can be given IM at 7 - 15mg/Kg. It is reliable and safe but has a long recovery time. If you are going to use an IM injectable agent in venomous snakes, make a squeeze top for your induction chamber out of 1/4 inch plexiglass. Fasten a handle to the top and drill several 1/2 inch holes in the plexiglass at various spots. This plexiglass should just fit inside your induction chamber so you can flatten the snake to the bottom of the chamber and inject it through one of the holes. Putting a piece of foam rubber on the bottom of the cage will make it more comfortable for the snake during the squeezing. But then if you have an induction chamber, use gas induction instead. Have the OWNER of the snake put the snake in the induction chamber.

THIRD CHOICE (Iguanas only) Propoflo is given IV or IO for short procedures. It is given to effect, usually it takes about 1 mL/ 4 - 8 lbs body weight. It is not irritating if it is given perivascularly. It will last about 5 - 20 minutes and can be redosed as needed. An IV or IO catheter is best if you anticipate successive doses being necessary.

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