TECHNIQUE

Alphaxolone/Alphadolone Anaesthesia in Waterfowl (Disease Investigation & Control - Treatment and/or Control)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Control / Treatment & Care / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords Saffan Anaesthesia, Saffan Induction, Alphaxolone/Alphadolone Induction, Althesin, CT1341.

See also:

Description N.B. Information given in this page is to be used in conjunction with the relevant sections on Anaesthesia and Chemical Restraint within "Treatment and/or Control".

Before using any anaesthetic agent or combination of agents the manufacturer's data sheet on the agent or agents concerned should be consulted, taking particular note of any contra-indications and operator warnings.

  • Intravenous injection, 3.0-4.2mg/kg in mute swans (J3.136.w3).
  • 2-10mg/kg intravenous in birds (P7.1.w4).
  • 5-10mg/kg intravenous, 36mg/kg intramuscular or intracoelomic (B11.9.w20).
  • Rapid induction (B14).
  • Anaesthesia for about ten to twenty minutes (B11.9.w20, B14).

(see: Intravenous Injection of Birds, Intramuscular Injection of Birds, Intraperitoneal Injection of Birds)

Appropriate Use (?)
  • Very rapid anaesthesia if given intravenously.
  • Good muscle relaxation.
  • Rapidly metabolised.
  • Wide safety margin (B11.9.w20).
Notes Examples of use in waterfowl:
  • In mute swans (Cygnus olor - Mute swan): bolus 2.5-3.5ml Saffan per10kg body weight (3-4.2mg/kg ) - the higher dose for expected short procedures, without inhalation anaesthesia, given into brachial vein over mid humerus on underside of wing, or tarsal vein in young birds with underdeveloped wings. Tape cotton wool to injection site - bleeding often profuse. Followed by intubation and maintenance with halothane if required. Recovery usually rapid, legs are loosely tied over tail and whole bird wrapped in a large blanket until able to stand unaided (J3.136.w3).
  • In mallard (Anas platyrhynchos - Mallard): 22.85mg/km intramuscular - maximum effect 4 minutes, recovery 30 minutes, good sedation; muscovy (Cairina moschata - Muscovy): 11.29mg/kg intramuscular - maximum effect 4 minutes, recovery 25 minutes, poor sedation; muscovy (Cairina moschata - Muscovy): 2.82mg/kg intravenous - recovery 35minutes, good sedation. Snow goose (Anser caerulescens - Snow goose): 18.75mg/kg intramuscular, maximum effect 3 minutes, recovery 35 minutes, good sedation (J3.115.w2).
  • In mallard (Anas platyrhynchos - Mallard): transient bradycardia followed by tachycardia at 3mg/kg intravenous, and at 12mg/kg intravenous in one bird on two separate occasions. Sinus arrest at 5mg/kg intravenous in another bird. No apparent after-effects and no deaths, but caution suggested. (J3.100.w2).
  • In Canada geese (Branta canadensis - Canada goose): 6mg/kg bradycardia or sinus arrest during and immediately following injection, followed by tachycardia; also 'barely adequate' for procedure (pinioning). No apparent after-effects and no deaths, but caution suggested. (J3.100.w2).
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Relatively low therapeutic ratio.
  • Fall in blood pressure when first given.
  • Some respiratory depression.
  • Frequently temporary apnoea after intravenous injection (B11.9.w20, B14).
  • "increased risk of heart failure if the heart is not healthy" (B14).
  • Large volume to be considered for intramuscular injection (B11.9.w20).
  • Histamine reactions have been recognised in e.g. dogs (severe) and cats (B121).
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers Available in the UK as Saffan (Schering-Plough Animal Health). Each ml of clear, slightly viscous sterile aqueous solution contains 12mg (1.2%w/v) total steroids, composed of 9mg Alfaxalone BP (Vet) and 3mg Alfadolone Acetate BP (Vet) (B90, B121).
Expertise level / Ease of Use Procedure should only be undertaken by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience; this would usually be a veterinarian or someone with advanced veterinary technician training.

N.B. Whenever an anaesthetic is undertaken, the anaesthetist must be familiar with emergency protocols. Consideration must be given as to the availability of equipment required to monitor the anaesthetic plane of the animal being anaesthetized and any equipment/drugs required for revival. It is advisable to calculate the doses of any revival agents which may be required in an emergency BEFORE COMMENCING the anaesthetic (V.w6).

Cost/ Availability Variable cost and availability of this anaesthetic agent between countries.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery."(see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).).

Use of Drugs (Medication):

  • Many drugs are not registered for use in particular bird species and care should be taken in their use, with proper regard for possible toxic effects. Consideration should be give to relevant legislation regarding the use of drugs.
  • In the UK, guidelines regarding the use of drugs are set out in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Guide to Professional Conduct 2000: (see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Choice of Medicinal Products).

Before using any anaesthetic agent or combination of agents the manufacturer's data sheet on the agent or agents concerned should be consulted, taking particular note of any contra-indications and operator warnings.

Author Debra Bourne
Referee  
References (J3.100.w2, J3.115.w2, J3.136.w3, B11.9.w20, B14, B90, B121, V.w6

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