from the berner-l

Some Berners are sensitive to Ace-Promazine(sp), this is often used with two other drugs as a pre-surgical sedative. It can have a longer lasting effect making the dog difficult to become alert within a normal time-frame. I had a bitch who had a sensitivity to this drug and as a matter of course ask the technicians to modify the dose withing the "bagshot" particularly for family members of this bitch. Another drug that is used as an induction agent, while very safe, leaves the dog in a halocinagenic state while recovering. I've noticed dogs are sound sensitive when this particular drug is used, the name eludes me perhaps Melissa can identify it. My induction agent of choice is propofol with isoflurane gas used to maintain surgical plane of unconciousness and the dog wakes up with a clear head. Breeders use this combo for C-Sections.

BERNER-L Digest 1126

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 23:44:19 -0700
From: Angela
Subject: Re: Anesthesia - long

> Isoflurane is still metabolized by the liver
>and/or kidneys, and so may not be the best choice for a animal with
>severe liver/kidney problems. It may, however, be the best option
>your vet has available.

Actually Isoflurane is 99% eliminated through respiration. Halothane is 20-50% metabloized (liver, kidneys) and 50-80% eliminated through respiration. Both have only slight analgesia (pain relief), some depression of respiration, Isoflurane has a slight effect on the heart but Halothane has a severe depression of the heart. Halothane also causes cardiac dysrhythmias. There are no reported effects on the liver in either drug (except Halothane in humans and pigs) and no reported effects on the kidneys in either drug.

"Of all the volatile anesthetics, isoflurane is considered to have the fewest adverse effects on the heart and other vital systems."

"Nearly all of the isoflurane administered to a patient is exhaled very quickly once the vaporizer is turned off. Isoflurane has low fat solubility, and consequently, there is very little retention of isoflurane in body fat stores, little hepatic metabolism, and very little renal excretion of metabolites. For this reason isoflurane is well suited to animals with liver or kidney disease. Isoflurane is also the preferred anesthetic for use in neonatal and geriatric animals...."

Another option I've used is Propofol. This is an injectable anesthetic that is used frequently in human medicine. (The veterinary label is Rapinovet). It is 99% metabolized in the lungs and thus makes an excellent choice for patients with kidney or liver problems that make other pre-med and induction agents hazardous.

The way Propofol works is that it is highly lipophilic. "After the initial bolus of propofol is administered, plasma concentrations decline rapidly because of redistribution from the brain and other highly perfused tissues to others which are less well perfused, such as skeletal muscle." Thus, the drug quickly hides out in highly lipophilic tissues such as fat, and slowly gets released to be quickly metabolised. Propofol should be used in short procedures (such as quill removal or cat castration) but it can be used in longer procedures using a slow drip. (Our pregnant vet always used this). I totally agree that it is an excellent choice because the animal is totally recovered 10 minutes after you stop giving it. Thus, a good choice where it would be risky to keep a dog under for a longer time.

Information is taken from:
Small Animal Anesthesia, by Diane McKelvey and K. Wayne Hollingshead
Propofol: A New IV Anesthetic Agent for Use in Cats and Dogs, by Dr. Tanya

Angela Hoskinson


BERNER-L Digest 1191

Subject: New Anesthetics
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 17:03:21 EDT
From: BMDwags <>

Hi Everyone-
Regarding all of the discussion about anesthetizing our dogs for a variety of reasons...There are several "newer" drugs available besides IV Pentothal and Isofluorene gas. Some dogs do very well on that combination...some do not. Sodium Pentothal intravenously is commonly used to induce a dog - to reduce the excitement stage and then start with the inhalation anesthesia called Isofluorene gas. Normally this combination is given along with an injection of Atropine Sulfate to increase the heartrate, and prevent hypersalivating. There are many post regarding this discussion in the archives... The "newer" drugs available are fast acting, safe, and the owner can drink a cup of coffee while the procedure is completed and the dog is reversed and goes home. Ask your veterinarians about Propofol given intravenously - this last about 10 minutes, but more can be given if needed before they fully awaken. This drug does not need a reversal because it only lasts a short amount of time. Another drug is called Domitor which is also given intravenously. This drug takes about 5-10 minutes to actually take effect, but then you have at least 15-20 minutes to complete the procedure. A reversal, called Antisedan,can be given in the muscle when the procedure is complete. The dog is standing and ready to walk out of the office within another 5-10 minutes. An advantage to letting the dog wake up by himself after having the Domitor is that it has an analgesic affect...which means if the dog had a painful procedure done, it acts like a pain-killer. The reversal takes away the analgesic affect...but he can go home within minutes fully awake. We do lump/cyst removals, abdominal ultrasounds and x-rays regularly using the above drugs. Just check with your veterinarians to see if they carry one or more of these anesthetics. Propofol has also been found to be one of the safest anesthetics to use in sight hounds (Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds, etc.)
Jennie Lanseigne



From: "Melissa Zebley, DVM" (
To: " Bernese Mountain Dog Mailing List" (
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 01:03:59 +0000
Subject: Re: foods and anesthesia

All you old-timers on the list just knew I wouldn't pass this one up, didn't you? (G) Well, if you're already rolling your eyes and getting ready to lip sync with me, please scroll down to the bottom, or go ahead and delete now. ;-p

>I came across this and am assuming that dogs would be affected in a similar
> way as humans. I know Berners are especially sensitive to anesthesia and I
> thought this important to keep in mind.
I quote from Dr. Gott: Let me state again, this is a myth. Berners as a breed are no more sensitive to anesthesia than any other dog. I have repeatedly questioned board certified veterinary anesthesiologists on this topic and repeatedly been assured of this. This is a myth that is repeated in EVERY breed circle. The only breeds where it is valid across the board are sighthounds such as greyhounds, afghans, etc. who all have a proven sensitivity to certain kinds of anesthesia. However, any particular dog may have a sensitivity to a particular anesthetic, just like any person can. Where does this place the concerned dog owner? Balance the risks vs the benefits. In a young healthy animal (and I do believe in doing bloodwork to confirm that "apparently healthy" is truly healthy, and not masking any early organ problems), the risk is minimal. As an animal gets older, so does the risk of inapparent organ disease, so the risk, and thus the need for thorough physical exams and labwork. Even in a young healthy animal, I would not do repeated frivlous anesthetics, but I would not be afraid to do needed or helpful procedures. In most cases, I advise doing all possible procedures at one time so as to avoid having to put the animal under anesthesia again anytime soon - such as doing radiographs, ear cleanings, lump removals, etc. while a dog might be done for a dental cleaning. All contingent, of course, on the anesthesia proceeding smoothly. Any problems or concerns, we wake the animal up as quickly as we can, and put off the other additional procedures until another time, sometimes indefinitely.

> " As strange as it sounds, certain foods can exert a major influence on
> patients under anesthesia, according to research conducted at the University
> of Chicago Medical Center and reported at the October meeting of the
> American Society of Anesthesiologists. Here's the reason:
> Many foods contain minute amounts of naturally occurring insecticides,
> called solanaceous glycoalkaloids, which inhibit the metabolism of many
> anesthetics and muscle relaxants. SGA's are found primarily in tomatoes,
> eggplants and most notably potatoes. The researchers discovered that the
> consumption of moderate amounts of potatoes days before surgery could result
> in SGA blood levels high enough to prolong the effects of anesthesia. To be
> on the safe side, patients anticipating surgery should restrict their
> consumption of SGA-containing foods for several days before receiving
> anesthesia."
Melissa PS I did a quick check to see if any of my notes or books at home had additional info on SGAs. Not much. The only thing I found was that the toxic principle is called solanine, and is also found in a plant called Nightshade. Also, sweet potatos, which not everyone considers a real potato, also contain solanine.

Melissa and Aylen and Tyra (and Sophie, too) Granite Falls, NC

BERNER-L Digest 2045

From: "Susan Wilkinson" <>
To: "Berner-l" <>
Subject: anesthetics (long)
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 00:27:28 -0400

I'm actually quite hesitant to comment on this subject as in the past some people have flamed those who share medical info -- no flames please, but I did want to add my thoughts on the subject of anesthetics.

As a foreward -- I am a final year vet student and have spent the better part of 3 summers working in different vet clinics (each with their own anesthetic protocol) as well as courses/lectures/labs at school working hands on with the various anesthetic drugs. In addition, my own menagerie of various critters (from chinchilla to donkeys) have given me all too frequent hands on experience. So I do have a little bit of experience to speak from ....... The usual anesthetic experience can be divided into roughly 4 parts: premed, induction, maintenance, and recovery. Premedication drug(s) is/are administered to not only calm the animal down prior to surgery but to also better prepare it for the upcoming surgery by providing preanesthetic pain control (it's much easier/better to control pain BEFORE it occurs), and reduce the incidence of undesireable side effects/physical conditions (ie. cats produce alot of mucous in their airways, therefore it's very common to include a drug in the premed that reduces these secretions and thus lowers the risk of the cat developing pneumonia through aspiration of the mucous). Premed drugs can also ensure a smoother recovery. That being said, as with all drugs, it is necessary to tailor the premed to the animal and the animal's condition -- using and not using drugs as the condition warrants, including choosing to use no premed at all. And remember too, that sometimes waking up slower is a good thing -- no one wants to see their animal have a wild and painful recovery where they throw themselves around in a kennel.

Induction refers to the act of inducing anethetic. This can be achieved through the use of injectible drugs, such as a barbituate (ie. Thiopental), non-barbituate that acts similar to one (ie. Propofol), or combination such as ketamine/valium. The idea here is safely and quickly induce anesthesia suitable for either performing a short procedure (ie. taking x-rays) or to allow intubation and maintenace gas anesthesia. Propofol is indeed one of the newest drugs available and is ultra/ultra short acting -- we like to use this for really quick procedures where you want to send the animal home very quickly, for sighthounds (who don't metabolize Thiopental well), or for older animals or ones that are ill -- this drug wears off REALLY fast, when you're intubating, you have to be fast. Given at the correct rate of administration, Propofol gives a lovely smooth induction and recovery. It can also cause a period of apnea (non-breathing) after administration (especially if given too fast) so care must be taken to ensure a good airway is present (pre-oxygenate the animal, intubation ready etc.). For young, healthy dogs with normal liver function (pre-anesthetic blood testing is important), Thiopental works very well and safely. I've only seen Ketamine/Valium used as a short-acting anesthetic for procedures such as cat neuters (and even cat spays) -- I've never used it myself and personally prefer to use other protocals with gas maintenance for such procedures. The big drawback with injectible agents is once they're injected, they're there to stay until they wear off (are metabolized by the body) -- that's why the ultra short acting drugs are preferred, any adverse effects they might cause are transient. Animals can also be "masked down" using gas for induction which certainly is a viable option although it is more stressful for the animal for a couple of reasons: the gas smells bad! so they fight the mask; and they commonly go through an excitement stage that adds to the stress. The pollution risk from gas leaking around the mask is also a concern for those humans present. In older/sick animals though, mask induction is a very viable option. On the plus side, if the animal experiences difficulties you can turn the gas off, the oxygen flow up, and the animal breathes out the gas (unlike injectibles that have to be metabolized); also mask induction is useful for fractious cats that won't let you get IV access to inject drugs (claws and fangs at the ready!!).

Maintenance anesthesia almost always refers to gaseous agents. The modern gas anesthetics allow you to make quite rapid changes in the plane of anesthesia. In modern vet practice 2 agents are commonly used: halothane and isoflurance. "Iso" is the more recent introduction of the two (1985) and has less adverse effects than the halothane -- if I'm masking an animal, I feel safer if it's iso rather than halothane I'm breathing. The two gases have different vaporization requirements so clinics have to have separate equipment for each type. Therefore, it is not uncommon for clinics to have just halothane, just iso, or sometimes both. The clinic I'm at now has both available -- I really enjopy the luxury of having a choice to fit the situation (and that choice is still quite often halothane). All that being said, it's important to remember that the safest anesthesia is the one the vet and staff are used to using and are comfortable with!! Also, studies have shown that the most safe anesthetic, is not one particular drug or combination of drugs, but is the one that is carefully and constantly monitored. It's also interesting the number of breeders I've met who are convinced their particular breed (name a breed here) is sensitive to anesthesia, depends who you speak to. Thus far the only real sensitivities I've seen have been either individual (ie. Kellu wakes up VERY fast, Talon much more slowly), or psyiological (health status, age, squished up noses etc.) and apart from brachyocephalics (pugs, bulldogs, Bostons -- those with the flat faces) and their unique (and troublesome) problems with their airways, and sighthounds not having very fast liver metabolization of certain drugs, no real true breed thing. Just my thoughts on the subject anyway .......

sue -- who still is awed by the responsibility of safe anesthesia but enjoys the challenge

Kellu, Talon, and Aeryn)

BERNER-L Digest 3912

Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2002 1:17 PM
Subject: Re: The "Z"s are here

In a message dated 07/20/2002 10:00:17 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

<< Propofol and Servo-flo, if I have the drugs right - that second one is the new one

The inhalent anesthetic is "Sevo-flo" or sevofluorane. While still in the working world, I was in the department that developed both these drugs (propofal and sevo) for veterinary use. While Isofluorane is an excellent inhalent anesthtic, Sevo allows an even faster recovery - often less than 5 minutes after extubation and does not seem to have the side effects of anxiety and thrashing that some other anesthesias do. Hooray for your vet for using some of the newer, safer drugs. Sevo has been found to be one of the safest anesthesias for the sight hounds, who do have a real problem as they metabolize anesthetics differently than most dogs due to having virtually no body fat, which absorbs some of the drug in other breeds. Congratulations on the "Z's". Hopefully tonight you can get some of those other "zzzzzz's".

Anne Copeland, Flash,TDI/CGC (Berner, 8 yrs.) & Gypsy TDI/CGC(Rescue
Cavalier,1 yr.)
BMDCSEW Vice President
Ty's memorial page:
Gypsy's page:


BERNER-L Digest 4065

From: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 2:38 PM
Subject: Re: Spaying

Hi Everyone-

I think there may be a misunderstanding in regards to the term "excitement stage". This is a phase of anesthesia induction that ALL animals (including people) go through. By giving a pre-anesthetic agent, the animal passes through the stage quickly. Sometimes it is as minor as a little paddling while the endotracheal tube is being placed, or sometimes it is more severe and the dog clamps it's teeth shut and thrashes. Regardless whether the animal actively shows the signs of the excitement stage or not...they all go through it. It is NOT a controllable owner being present does nothing to aid in the transition. An injectable pre-anesthetic agent such as Pentothal, Propofol or Ketamine/Valium combination is typically given to sedate the dog just long enough to safely place the endotracheal tube and attach the dog to the Isoflurene gas anesthesia machine. In some rare, special cases, a veterinarian may chose to mask down a patient only using the Isoflurene gas blowing in the dog's nose and mouth using a cone. It can be successful, however you are very likely to see the excitement stage in full force...and the only way to get through it is to wait it out, and patiently wait for the next plane of anesthesia to take affect. The point regarding gas anesthesia not having any analgesic effects (pain relief) is true. Some vets will administer a Torbugesic injection after the surgical procedure...which will give the animal some pain relief for about 6 more hours. Some vets prefer to send home Rimadyl for a few days after surgery. For extremely painful procedures...such as orthopedic surgeries...the vets may place a Fentanyl Patch on the dog's skin, which will slowly release a narcotic agent to give pain relief over a 3 day period.

The important thing to remember is that dogs and cats handle pain in a different way than humans do. They live by survival of the fittest. While it is kind and humane to help an animal recover after a traumatic surgery...most animals do extremely well without any pain management drugs. In fact, some pain relievers can make a dog feel scared and awkward...making them dangerous to send home because they could fall down stairs, or snap at the owner by mistake. Cats tend to not do well on many forms of pain management. Most anti-inflammatories are very dangerous to give cats.

If you notice that your pet has a difficult time recovering from anesthesia, please inform your veterinarian what the signs were that you observed at home. They could be completely normal, or they could be indicitive that your pet had an adverse reaction. It should be indicated on the animal's chart that there may have been an adverse reaction, and in the future they will try something different for your pet's anesthetic needs.

Jennie Hoffnagle Glenmoore, A