Recovery from Anesthesia

This time is critical because it is a period of physiologic disturbance during which crises can arise. Frequent observation and monitoring is required. The endotracheal tube should not be removed until the animal is exhibiting an active swallowing reflex. Maintain a clear, unobstructed airway! Rodents should not be placed in cages with bedding, which can be inhaled. In most instances, animals should be frequently turned from side to side to avoid dependent pulmonary edema. Respiratory function can be evaluated by mucous membrane and tongue color and respiratory volume and rate. Some situations may require a blood gas analyzer. Cardiovascular function can be assessed by EKG, blood pressure monitors, auscultation, and evaluation of mucous membrane color. Body temperature needs to be maintained. If circulating warm water heating devices or heat lamps are used, care should be taken to ensure that animals do not chew these devices and electrocute themselves. To prevent drowning or aspiration, water and food is withheld.

In general, animals should be individually caged during recovery. It is not uncommon for some species (rats, mice, voles)to cannibalize individuals which are groggy. Rodents should not be returned to group cages until each and every individual in the cage has regained normal mobility.