An Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) required general anesthesia for orthopedic foot surgery. The elephant was unable to lie down, so it was placed in a custom-made sling, administered i.m. etorphine hydrochloride in the standing position, and lowered to lateral recumbency. General anesthesia was maintained with isoflurane administered through an endotracheal tube. After surgery, the isoflurane anesthesia was terminated, with immobilization maintained with additional i.v. etorphine. The elephant was lifted to the vertical position, and the immobilizing effects of etorphine were reversed with naltrexone. The suspension system and hoist for the sling were designed specifically for the elephant house.
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Vol. 31 • No. 1