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2021 Mar 17

J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci

Rapid Recovery and Short Duration Anesthesia after Low Dose Ketamine and High Dose Dexmedetomidine in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta).


Killoran KE, Walsh CA, Asher JL, Tarleton MB, Wilson SR
J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2021 Mar 17.
PMID: 33731246.


Anesthesia in rhesus macaques is required for many procedures. Although ketamine is the backbone of most anestheticprotocols, tolerance to the drug can develop, resulting in the need for higher doses to provide sufficient restraint. Combination with other drugs, such as α-agonists, can be ketamine-sparing, providing for sufficient restraint at lower ketamine doses. In addition, because α-agonists are reversible, recovery from anesthesia has the potential to be much shorter. We hypothesized that use of a low dose of ketamine with a high dose of dexmedetomidine, an α2 receptor selective agonist, in male and female rhesus macaques less than 15 y of age would provide adequate anesthesia for short procedures and that recovery would be faster than in macaques given a higher dose of ketamine (10 mg/kg) alone. We found that the combination, in conjunction with atipamezole for reversal, provided smooth induction of anesthesia and significantly shorter recovery time than did ketamine alone, with no significant effects of sex. The combination of low dose ketamine and high dose dexmedetomidine also provided a 30-min window of anesthesia with analgesia sufficient for mild to moderately painful procedures.