The Use of Sevoflurane in a 2:1 Mixture of Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen for Rapid Mask Induction of Anaesthesia in the Cat

by : S Tzannes, M Govendir, S Zaki, Y Miyake, P Packiarajah, R Malik


An inhalational technique for rapid induction of anaesthesia in unsedated cats using sevoflurane and nitrous oxide is described. Using a pliable, tight-fitting, face mask, sevoflurane (7.5–8%) was delivered from an out-of-circuit precision vaporiser connected to a coaxial non-rebreathing system using a fresh gas flow of 1 l oxygen and 2 l nitrous oxide per min. Cats were restrained with gentle but firm pressure applied by scruffing the dorsal cervical skin until the righting reflex was lost and the patient could be positioned in lateral recumbency. Typically, cats could be positioned on their side in a light plane of anaesthesia within 1 min of applying the mask, at which time the sevoflurane concentration was reduced to 5% or less. A similar protocol, using a lower initial concentration of sevoflurane, is recommended for old or debilitated patients. Maintenance of light sevoflurane (2–4%) anaesthesia by mask permitted minor interventions to be performed readily, including blood collection, intravenous chemotherapy, abdominal palpation, radiography and ultrasonography. More painful procedures, such as bone marrow aspiration, required a deeper plane of anaesthesia. Cats were sufficiently deep to be intubated, if this was required, about 3 min after commencing the induction. Recovery from sevoflurane/nitrous oxide anaesthesia was smooth and rapid, with most cats being able to right within 5 min of discontinuing the agents. This protocol for rapid inhalational induction and recovery is particularly suited to feline practice, where rendering an uncooperative patient unconscious greatly facilitates the completion of many minor diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, especially when these must be performed on successive days or when peripheral vascular access is limited. For longer procedures, isoflurane may be substituted for sevoflurane for maintenance of anaesthesia in order to minimise cost.

Accepted June 16, 2000.