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The pros and cons of the different methods of anesthesia

The success of studies depends on several things. One is to keep your animal under anesthesia in optimal condition during manipulations. We give a brief summary of the different methods of anesthesia. There are several methods of performing anesthesia on small laboratory animals (small rodents).
Below are the pros and cons of the 3 most commonly used methods:

Injectable agents: mostly i.p. or i.m.

+ Quick and easy to apply (1 injection)
+ Choice between a lot of products (rat/mouse)

- Due to variation (male/female/breed) or calculated time for procedure, it can be necessary to re-adjust the anesthesia
- Injection anesthesia is IN-FLEXIBLE
- extra injection agent if deeper or longer anesthesia is required.
- too deep/long anesthesia when ‘over injected’ or injecting antagonist.

Inhalation anesthesia: face mask

+ Flexible anesthesia ‘depth’/better control
+ Also for short(er) procedures
+ Different gasses (mixtures) possible

- No respiratory control (or pressure control)
- Adjusting could be relatively slow (if long tubes are used)
- A gas exhaust system is required

Inhalation anesthesia: endotracheal intubation and ventilator

+ For shorter and longer procedures
+ Different gasses (mixtures) possible
+ Full respiratory/-support possible
+ Quick adjusting when using a pressure, volume and frequency driven ventilator.
+ P.E.E.P. Setting possible (standard AND open thorax)
+ Economical use of anesthetic gasses

- Intubation technique is considered to be “difficult”

You can find a protocol for the safe use of anesthesia equipment here.