Prolonged anesthetic recovery times are a common clinical problem in reptiles following inhalant anesthesia. Diving reptiles have numerous adaptations that allow them to submerge and remain apneic for extended periods. An ability to shunt blood away from pulmonary circulation, possibly due to changes in adrenergic tone, may contribute to their unpredictable inhalant anesthetic recovery times. Therefore, the use of epinephrine could antagonize this response and reduce recovery time. GV-26, an acupuncture point with reported β-adrenergic and respiratory effects, has reduced anesthetic recovery times in other species. In this prospective randomized crossover study, six common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) were anesthetized with inhalant isoflurane for 90 min. Turtles were assigned one of three treatments, given immediately following discontinuation of isoflurane: a control treatment (0.9% saline, at 0.1 ml/kg i.m.), epinephrine (0.1 mg/kg i.m.), or acupuncture with electrical stimulation at GV-26. Each turtle received all treatments, and treatments were separated by 48 hr. Return of spontaneous ventilation was 55% faster in turtles given epinephrine and 58% faster in the GV-26 group versus saline (P < 0.001). The times to movement and to complete recovery were also significantly faster for both treatments than for saline (P < 0.02). Treated turtles displayed increases in temperature not documented in the control (P < 0.001). Turtles administered epinephrine showed significantly increased heart rates and end-tidal CO2 (P < 0.001). No adverse effects were noted in the study animals. The mechanisms of action were not elucidated in the present investigation. Nevertheless, the use of parenteral epinephrine or GV-26 stimulation in the immediate postanesthetic period produces clinically relevant reductions in anesthetic recovery time in common snapping turtle. Further research is necessary to evaluate the effects of concurrent GV-26 and epinephrine administration and to assess responses in other reptilian species.
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