General pharmacology

Anesthesia maintenance agents

Once the animal is under general anesthesia from the sedative and induction agents, we need to maintain anesthesia at a surgical plane.

Maintenance of anesthesia is commonly performed using one or more these protocols

  • repeat injections of the sedative and induction agents
    • typically this uses 1/2 doses of the original doses, administered as needed
    • some agents (benzodiazepines) have a long half life and do not need redosing
  • constant rate infusions (CRI)
    • common combinations include triple drips and double drips
    • just about any induction agent or combination of agents can be made into a CRI infusion
  • intubation and inhalant anesthesia
    • intubation often requires a deeper plane of anesthesia
    • this can be risky in LA species, particularly if effective ventilation is not possible
    • if procedures will last more than 60 minutes, intubation and inhalant anesthesia is strongly recommended

See species specific information


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Large Animal Surgery - Supplemental Notes Copyright © by Erin Malone, DVM, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.