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Anesthesia of a Sighthound


The sighthounds are an ancient group of dog breeds that have been selectively bred for high-speed pursuit of prey by sight. Probably as a consequence of this selection process, these dogs have a number of idiosyncrasies that can potentially adversely affect their anesthetic management. These include (1) nervous demeanor which can lead to stress-induced clinical complications, such as hyperthermia; (2) lean body conformation with high surface-area-to-volume ratio, which predisposes these dogs to hypothermia during anesthesia; (3) hematological differences such as a higher packed cell volume and lower serum protein compared with other dog breeds which may complicate interpretation of preanesthetic blood work; (4) Impaired biotransformation of drugs by the liver resulting in prolonged recovery from certain intravenous anesthetics, especially thiopental; and increased risks of drug interactions. Safe anesthetic management of sighthounds should include sedative premedication and appropriate use of analgesic drugs to minimize perioperative stress. Thiopental, or any other thiobarbiturate, should not be used in these dogs. Propofol, ketamine/diazepam combination, and methohexital are recommended alternative intravenous anesthetics. Avoid coadministration of agents that inhibit drug biotransformation, such as chloramphenicol. Inhalation anesthesia using isoflurane is the preferred anesthetic maintenance technique. Core body temperature should be monitored closely and techniques to minimize hypothermia should be employed both during anesthesia and into the recovery period.

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