Inland bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps, n = 6) were anesthetized for 1 hr using isoflurane in either 100% oxygen or 21% oxygen (FI 21; medical-grade room air). Parameters of anesthetic depth were recorded throughout both induction and recovery by an observer blinded to the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2), including the loss and return of withdrawal and righting reflexes, muscle tone, ability to intubate or extubate, and return to spontaneous respiration. Physiologic data were recorded every 5 min throughout the anesthetic procedures, including heart rate, body temperature, end-tidal CO2, hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SpO2), and percent expired isoflurane. Lizards were subjected to application of a noxious stimulus (needle stick) at 0, 30, and 60 min, and responses recorded. Following a minimum 7-day washout period, the experiment was repeated with each lizard subjected to the other protocol in a randomized, complete crossover design. The only statistically significant difference was a lower mean SpO2 in the group inspiring 21% oxygen (P < 0.0020). No statistically significant differences were detected in any parameters during induction or recovery; however, all values were uniformly shorter for the FI 21 group, indicating a possible clinically significant difference. A larger sample size may have detected statistically significant differences. Further studies are needed to evaluate these effects in other reptile species and with the concurrent use of injectable anesthetic and analgesic drugs.
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