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Fact sheet for Veterinary Professionals on Guidelines for Feline Anaesthesia

We wanted to bring to your attention some recent guidelines for feline anaesthesia, published by the American Association of Feline Practitioners; the AAFP Feline Anesthesia Guidelines. These provide comprehensive recommendations for current best practice.

Dear colleague,
I am Becky, a RCVS and EBVS® European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, and form part of the anaesthesia team here at Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire. As a department we wanted to bring to your attention some recent guidelines for feline anaesthesia, published by the American Association of Feline Practitioners; the AAFP Feline Anesthesia Guidelines. These provide comprehensive recommendations for current best practice and are available as an Open Access document in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery here:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1098612X18781391

One point which we wanted to highlight, very relevant at present, is the technique for desensitising the feline larynx prior to endotracheal intubation. While we would normally recommend use of the licensed lidocaine product (Intubeaze; Dechra Veterinary Products), there are currently some difficulties in obtaining this. While this is not available we would suggest using a preservative free, 2% lidocaine solution. It is important to ensure that no adrenaline is contained within the solution. When drawn into a 1 mL syringe, 1 – 2 drops can be dripped onto the arytenoid folds. We recommend a maximum dose of 0.1 ml (2 mg) per cat. Previously, when Intubeaze was not available, Xylocaine spray has been used. We cannot recommend this. Firstly, the metered dose spray delivers a higher dose of lidocaine compared with Intubeaze (10 mg of lidocaine per Xylocaine spray compared with 2 – 4 mg per spray in Intubeaze). Additionally, adverse effects have been reported in cats where Xylocaine spray was used. While this was thought to be due to the carrier rather than the drug itself, it resulted in laryngeal oedema and respiratory distress (Fisher, 2010; Vet Record, Sept 25, pg 500 and Brearley, 2010; Vet Record, Oct 16, pg 627).

If you have any questions regarding this, or of course any other aspect of anaesthesia case management, please call or email us any time.

Becky Robinson
BVSc MVetMed DipECVAA FHEA MRCVS
RCVS and EBVS® European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Veterinary Anaesthetist

Davies Veterinary Specialists, Manor Farm Business Park, Higham Gobion, Herts SG5 3HR 01582 883950

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