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Intraperitoneal co-administration of low dose urethane with xylazine and ketamine for extended duration of surgical anesthesia in rats


Procedures involving complex surgical techniques in rats, such as placement of abdominal aortic graft require extended duration of surgical anesthesia, which often can be achieved by repeated administrations of xylazine-ketamine combination. However such repeated anesthetic administration, in addition to being technically challenging, may be associated with potential adverse events due to cumulative effects of anesthesia. We report here the feasibility of using urethane at low dose (1/10 the recommended anesthetic dose) in combination with a xylazine-ketamine mix to achieve an extended duration of surgical anesthesia in rats. The anesthesia induction phase was quick and smooth with an optimal phase of surgical anesthesia achieved for up to 90 minutes, which was significantly higher compared to that achieved with use of only xylazine-ketamine combination. The rectal temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate were within the physiological range with an uneventful recovery phase. Post surgery the rats were followed up to 3 months without any evidence of tumor or any other adverse effects related to the use of the urethane anesthetic combination. We conclude that low dose urethane can be effectively used in combination with xylazine and ketamine to achieve extended duration of surgical anesthesia up to 90 minutes in rats.


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Correspondence to Arun H. S. Kumar.

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Kumar, A.H.S., Clover, A.J.P. Intraperitoneal co-administration of low dose urethane with xylazine and ketamine for extended duration of surgical anesthesia in rats. Lab Anim Res 31, 174–179 (2015).

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  • Urethane
  • Xylazine
  • Ketamine
  • extended duration of surgery