Medetomidine and ketamine are injectable drugs that can be used in combination to induce general anesthesia in rats. After noticing a high incidence of morbidity and mortality in pregnant Wistar rats given medetomidine and ketamine for anesthesia, the authors further investigated the effects of this combination of anesthetic drugs in both pregnant and nonpregnant Wistar rats. The time to recumbency and the duration of general anesthesia were similar between pregnant and nonpregnant rats. Pregnancy status did not affect the rats' pulse rate, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, oxygen saturation or perfusion index during 2 h of anesthesia. Pregnant rats had significantly lower blood glucose concentrations than nonpregnant rats at all time points, though blood glucose concentrations increased in both groups. The mortality rate was ̂1/415% both for nonpregnant rats and for pregnant rats. Researchers using medetomidine and ketamine to anesthetize Wistar rats should carefully monitor the rats in order to minimize mortality. © 2014 Nature America, Inc.
Callahan, L., Ross, S., Jones, M., & Musk, G. C. (2014). Mortality associated with using medetomidine and ketamine for general anesthesia in pregnant and nonpregnant Wistar rats. Lab Animal, 43(6), 208-214. https://doi.org/10.1038/laban.517