Last Updated on November 8, 2022.

  • Anesthesia is an induced state of unconsciousness in animals.
  • Veterinarians may anesthetize your hedgehog to examine it thoroughly or during a procedure that requires the hedgehog to remain still.
  • Anesthesia is also necessary for surgery.
  • Three components are involved in this process: analgesia (pain relief), amnesia (loss of memory), and immobilization
  • Within the components there are numerous stages
    • Stage 1: (voluntary excitement): heart rate and respiratory rate increase; this is usually where the animal will struggle in confusion
    • Stage 2: (involuntary excitement): Loss of consciousness
    • Stage 3: General anesthesia
      • Plane 1: light anesthesia (reflexes are still present)
      • Plane 2: medium anesthesia (surgical level with muscles relaxed)
      • Plane 3: deep anesthesia (breathing endangered)
      • Plane 4: too deep (diaphragm is paralyzed)
    • Stage 4: (irreversible anesthesia): respiratory arrest
  • Recovery stages work in reverse from stage 4 back to stage 1
  • The preferred method in small animals is isoflurane gas
    • This is done in induction chamber than switched to a face mask for maintenance
    • Endotracheal intubation is nearly impossible
  • The smaller trachea of hedgehogs makes it difficult to tube the animals unlike cats and dogs
  • Injectable agents can also be used though not as popular
    • Ketamine can be used alone or in combination with diazepam (intramuscular)
    • Tiletamin/zolazepam in combination
    • Halothane and methoxyflurane are used for shorter procedures, but isoflurane is preferred for longer procedures
    • Patient physical condition is usually used as the primary method for determining the method of anesthesia

For more information: Pharmacology- intravenous anesthetic agents and dissociatives A lecture by Lyon Lee DVM PhD DACVA Intravenous Anesthetic Agents (

or Small Animal Anesthesia Guide by Robert Stein DVM Anesthesia Guide for small animals in Veterinary medicine – SMALL ANIMAL ANESTHESIA GUIDE Dr. Bob – StuDocu

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