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Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Ferrets


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Anesthesia / Analgesia

Dunayer, E. (2004). Ibuprofen toxicosis in dogs, cats, and ferrets. Exotic DVM 99(7): 580 582, 584, 586. ISSN: 8750-7943.
NAL Call Number: SF981 .E96
Descriptors: ferrets, dogs, cats, ibuprofen, toxicosis.

Fournier Chambrillon, C., J.P. Chusseau, J. Dupuch, C. Maizeret, and P. Fournier (2003). Immobilization of free-ranging European mink (Mustela lutreola) an polecat (Mustela putorius) with medetomidine-ketamine and reversal by atipamezole. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 39(2): 393-399. ISSN: 0090-3558.
NAL Call Number: 41.9 W648
Abstract: From March 1996 to August 1999, 24 free-ranging European mink (Mustela lutreola) and 25 free-ranging polecats (Mustela putorius) were immobilized for clinical procedures and to place radio transmitters. Data were recorded during 14 and 12 trials, respectively. Animals received intramuscularly 10 mg/kg ketamine (KET) combined with 0.20 mg/kg medetomidine (MED), antagonized by 1.00 mg/kg atipamezole (ATI). Anesthesia times were similar between species. Induction was smooth and rapid (0.7-3.9 min); the degree of anesthesia and muscle relaxation was satisfactory in most animals. Two individuals showed signs of spontaneous recovery before injection of ATI. In other individuals, ATI was injected 28.1-54.0 min after the MED-KET injection and rapidly reversed the effects of the MED. Rectal temperature and heart and respiratory rates decreased significantly 5-25 min post MED-KET injection in both species. Rectal temperature successfully remained stable by placing animals on a warmed plastic table (37 C) during anesthesia. According to these results, this anesthetic protocol produces a safe and rapid immobilization in free-ranging European mink and polecats and is recommended for surgical procedures such as radio transmitter implantation. However caution is required as hypothermia can be severe. Body temperature must be monitored and means provided to maintain stability.
Descriptors: ferrets, immobilization, mink, adrenergic alpha agonists, anesthesia recovery period, anesthetics, dissociative antagonists, inhibitors, wild animals, body temperature, heart rate, imidazoles, ketamine, medetomidine, respiration.

Harms, C.A., K.K. Sladky, W.A. Horne, and M.K. Stoskopf (2002). Epidural analgesia in ferrets. Exotic DVM 4(3): 40-42. ISSN: 1521-1363.
NAL Call Number: SF981 .E96
Descriptors: ferrets, anesthesia, epidural, analgesia, morphine, pharmacodynamics.
Notes: 4th Annual international conference on exotics (ICE2002), Key West, Florida, USA, 2002.

Johnston, M.S. (2005). Clinical approaches to analgesia in ferrets and rabbits. Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine 14(4): 229-235. ISSN: 1055-937X.
NAL Call Number: SF994.2.A1536
Descriptors: ferrets, rabbits, analgesia, behavior, ketamine, local anesthetics, non steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, opioids, pain management.

Lawson, A.K., M. Lichtenberger, T. Day, J. Ko, and R. Kirby (2006). Comparison of sevoflurane and isoflurane in domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). Veterinary Therapeutics Research in Applied Veterinary Medicine 7(3): 207-212. ISSN: 1528-3593.
Abstract: Isoflurane anesthesia is commonly used in ferrets for routine examinations and diagnostics. Sevoflurane is now being used as well, but there have been no studies to date directly comparing these agents in domestic ferrets. A prospective study was designed to evaluate the quality and speed of anesthetic induction and recovery using isoflurane and sevoflurane in ferrets. In addition effects on heart rate, blood pressure and packed cell volume were also recorded. No significant differences were noted between anesthetic agents.
Descriptors: domestic ferrets, sevofkurane, isoflurane, comparison, examinations, induction, recovery, heart rate, blood pressure.

Lichtenberger, M. (2005). Shock, fluid therapy, anesthesia and analgesia in the ferret. Exotic DVM 7(2): 24-30. ISSN: 1521-1363.
NAL Call Number: SF981 .E96
Descriptors: ferrets, anesthesia, analgesia, hypovolemic shock, corrective fluid therapy, circulatory diseases.
Notes: International Conference on Exotics, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. May 26-28, 2005.

MacPhail, C.M., E. Monnet, J.S. Gaynor, and A. Perini (2004). Effect of sevoflurane on hemodynamic and cardiac energetic parameters in ferrets. American Journal of Veterinary Research 65(5): 653-658. ISSN: 0002-9645.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 Am3A
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of sevoflurane on cardiac energetic and hemodynamic parameters in ferrets. ANIMALS: 7 healthy domesticated ferrets. PROCEDURE: Sevoflurane was used as the sole anesthetic agent for general anesthesia in ferrets. Standard midline laparotomy and median sternotomy were performed to permit instrumentation. Myocardial blood flow was determined by use of colored microsphere technology. Measurements and blood samples were obtained at 1.25%, 2.5%, and 3.75% expired concentration of sevoflurane. RESULTS: A dose-dependent decrease in arterial blood pressure, left ventricular pressure, systemic vascular resistance, aortic flow, and dp/dt (an index of contractility) was detected as expired concentration of sevoflurane increased. Heart rate, central venous pressure, coronary vascular resistance, myocardial oxygen extraction ratio, and tau (the time constant of relaxation) were unchanged. Cardiac external work decreased, as did myocardial oxygen consumption, causing increased cardiac efficiency at higher concentrations of sevoflurane. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Sevoflurane caused minimal and predictable cardiovascular effects in ferrets without increasing myocardial metabolic demands. Data obtained from this study have not been previously reported for a species that is being commonly used in cardiovascular research. These findings also support use of sevoflurane as a safe inhalant anesthetic in ferrets for clinical and research settings.
Descriptors: ferrets, heart, heart rate, methyl ethers, blood flow velocity, blood pressure, dose response relationship, drug, microspheres, oxygen blood, sevoflurane.

Mio, Y., N. Fukuda, Y. Kusakari, Y. Amaki, Y. Tanifuji, and S. Kurihara (2004). Comparative effects of bupivacaine and ropivacaine on intracellular calcium transients and tension in ferret ventricular muscle. Anesthesiology 101(4): 888-894. ISSN: 0003-3022.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Recent evidence suggests that ropivacaine exerts markedly less cardiotoxicity compared with bupivacaine; however, the mechanisms are not fully understood at the molecular level. METHODS: Isolated ferret ventricular papillary muscles were microinjected with the Ca-binding photoprotein aequorin, and intracellular Ca transients and tension were simultaneously measured during twitch in the absence and presence of bupivacaine or ropivacaine. RESULTS: Bupivacaine and ropivacaine (10, 30, and 100 microm) reduced peak systolic [Ca]i and tension in a concentration-dependent manner. The effects were significantly greater for bupivacaine, particularly on tension (approximately twofold). The percentage reduction of tension was linearly correlated with that of [Ca]i for both anesthetics, with the slope of the relationship being approximately equal to 1.0 for ropivacaine and approximately equal to 1.3 for bupivacaine (slope difference, P < 0.05), suggesting that the cardiodepressant effect of ropivacaine results predominantly from inhibition of Ca transients, whereas bupivacaine suppresses Ca transients and the reaction beyond Ca transients, i.e., myofibrillar activation, as well. BAY K 8644, a Ca channel opener, abolished the inhibitory effects of ropivacaine on Ca transients and tension, whereas BAY K 8644 only partially inhibited the effects of bupivacaine, particularly the effects on tension. CONCLUSION: The cardiodepressant effect of bupivacaine is approximately twofold greater than that of ropivacaine. Bupivacaine suppresses Ca transients more markedly than does ropivacaine and reduces myofibrillar activation, which may at least in part underlie the greater inhibitory effect of bupivacaine on cardiac contractions. These results suggest that ropivacaine has a more favorable profile as a local anesthetic in the clinical settings.
Descriptors: ferrets, anesthetics, pharmacology, bupivacaine, ropivacaine, pharmacology, calcium metabolism, myocardial contraction, tension, comparative effects, heart ventricles.

Rauser, P., J. Zatloukal, A. Necas, J. Lorenzova, and L. Lexmaulova (2002). Combined medetomidine and ketamine for short-term anaesthesia in ferrets - a clinical study. Acta Veterinaria 71(2): 243-248. ISSN: 0001-7213.
NAL Call Number: SF604.87
Abstract: We evaluated the quality of anaesthesia by a combination of medetomidine (60 microg/kg intramuscularly) and ketamine given at two different doses (5 mg/kg or 8 mg/kg intramuscularly). Lower ketamine dose resulted in later loss of lateral recumbency, palpebral reflex and deep sensation. It also reduced the time of their recovery. The loss of deep sensation after the high ketamine dose was nearly twice as long as after the low dose. Heart rate values were comparable in both groups and showed a decreasing tendency as well as the respiratory rate which, however, differed in both groups from the 30th min of anaesthesia. The combination of medetomidine and ketamine is very effective for the anaesthesia in ferrets regarding the duration, myorelaxation and analgesia. Prolongation of this anaesthesia is possible with half ketamine doses.
Descriptors: ferrets, anesthesia, analgesics, ketamine, duration, behavior, respiration rate, heart rate, clinical trials, blood circulation, time.

Schoemaker, N.J., J.A. Mol, J.T. Lumeij, J.H. Thijssen, and A. Rijnberk (2003). Effects of anaesthesia and manual restraint on the plasma concentrations of pituitary and adrenocortical hormones in ferrets. Veterinary Record 152(19): 591-595. ISSN: 0042-4900.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 V641
Abstract: Two experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of sampling techniques on the plasma concentrations of pituitary and adrenocortical hormones in ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). In the first experiment blood was collected on two occasions from 29 ferrets which were either manually restrained or anaesthetised with isoflurane. In the second experiment eight intact ferrets were fitted with jugular catheters and blood was collected on four occasions, just before and as soon as possible after they had been manually restrained or anaesthetised with medetomidine or isoflurane; blood was also collected 10 and 30 minutes after the induction of anaesthesia. Medetomidine anaesthesia had no effect on the plasma concentrations of pituitary and adrenocortical hormones. Isoflurane anaesthesia resulted in a significant increase in the plasma concentration of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) directly after the induction of anaesthesia. Manual restraint resulted in a significant increase in the plasma concentrations of cortisol and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and a decrease in the plasma concentration of alpha-MSH.
Descriptors: anesthesia, ferrets, restraint, specimen handling, blood chemical analysis, corticotropin, blood hydrocortisone, hyperaldosteronism, isoflurane, medetomidine, pituitary adrenal function tests.

Vastenburg, M.H., S.A. Boroffka, and N.J. Schoemaker (2004). Echocardiographic measurements in clinically healthy ferrets anesthetized with isoflurane. Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 45(3): 228-232. ISSN: 1058-8183.
NAL Call Number: SF757.8.A4
Abstract: Two-dimensional, M4-mode, and color flow Doppler echocardiography was performed in 29 (18 females, 11 males) clinically healthy ferrets anesthetized with isoflurane. M-mode measurements of the left ventricle, left atrial appendage diameter (LAAD), and aorta (Ao) were obtained. The fractional shortening and LAAD/Ao ratio were calculated. The values of the M-mode measurements were compared between the male and female ferrets using a Student's t-test. No significant differences were found. The difference in body weight between the male and female ferrets was highly significant (P<0.001), but no significant correlation was found between body weight and M-mode measurements. Color flow Doppler examinations of the mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonary valves were recorded and there was minor valvular regurgitation in five ferrets, which was considered nonsignificant.
Descriptors: anesthesia, anesthetics, inhalation pharmacology, ferrets, heart ventricles, isoflurane, ultrasonography, reference values, doppler ultrasonography, echocardiography.

Wilkens, E.P. and B.J. Yates (2005). Pretreatment with ondansetron blunts plasma vasopressin increases associated with morphine administration in ferrets. Anesthesia and Analgesia 101(4): 1029-1033. ISSN: 0003-2999.
Abstract: Postoperative nausea and vomiting are significant problems. A method for measuring vomiting thresholds for anesthetics using plasma markers, such as arginine vasopressin (AVP), would be useful. We measured the change in AVP concentrations associated with morphine alone or in combination with ondansetron pretreatment. Data were collected from ferrets implanted with IV catheters. After recovery, the ferrets were administered IV morphine alone or with ondansetron pretreatment. Baseline blood samples were taken before morphine injection, and at 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90 min after morphine injection. Plasma AVP levels were measured using radioimmunoassay. Morphine alone was associated with a significant increase in plasma AVP concentrations from baseline at 45, 60, and 90 min (P < 0.05). Ondansetron alone did not change the plasma AVP concentration after 20 min (P > 0.46). There was no significant increase (P > 0.46) in AVP concentration in animals that were pretreated with ondansetron before administration of morphine. Two-way analysis of variance confirmed that ondansetron significantly decreased the increase in AVP by morphine at 60 and 90 min (P < 0.05). These data suggest that plasma AVP concentration may be an accurate marker for nausea, and may be useful to guide treatment for this condition. IMPLICATIONS: The antiemetic, ondansetron, has an effect not only on clinically perceived vomiting, but also on plasma vasopressin level.
Descriptors: ferrets, antiemetics, morphine, ondansetron, nausea, postoperative nausea, prevention and control of vomiting.

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