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Anesthesia concern - please help!

Atari is scheduled to be neutered tomorrow morning and I am freaking out because my vet is using a combination of Ketamine and Ace to induce and sedate and then isoflurane gas to maintain. A friend who works in a vet suggested to do a combo of Ketamine and Valium but my doctor does not do Valium. My friend said they have seen bad things with Ace and every cat that they lost, had it. So I researched and now am reading not to use ketamine! I am so nervous and really don't know what to do!!!!

Anyone who has had their savannah's neutered, please give me some feedback. If it makes a difference, he is an F3 male 6 months old

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Ketamine can be an issue in terms of anesthesia...I'd suspect it less of a concern if used as induction rather than all the anesthesia but you still may well deal with the hallucinations that can occur as he comes out of anesthesia... and that is not something one can predict but best to be aware of it.

Acepromazine is not my favorite drug, I had a cat overdose on this and it was a nightmare. BUT it is a commonly used kitty sedative... so in the right hands will be safe enough.

Your decision needs to much do you trust your vet? I am fortunate enough to trust my vet implicitly (years of using this vet helps) so I am confident that any methodology he wants to use he has a good reason for doing it that way.

If you feel uncomfortable, cancel his appointment. It's not critical can reschedule when you've thought this over, maybe looked at alternatives... or had the chance to talk it over with your vet and feel good about the protocol he is using.
Thank you so much for the response. I only met my vet once, so I don't know how much I truly trust him... but I do know that he is a reputable doctor and a great surgeon. Although, I do not believe he has operated on too many savannahs. Which is my fear. Many vets feel they are the same as domestics, but there are clearly differences. Thanks!

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
The ketamine issue is NOT a Savannah-specific issue by any means! It is recommended against by breeders of many breeds of cat.

In terms of the Savannah, overdose may be more likely simply because as an injectable anesthetic with no reversing agent it is dosed by weight of the cat. This assumes a certain % of body fat, when a cat is leaner in build so lower in body fat, this can mean more of the anesthetic in circulation and hence overdose is possible.

The hallucinatory effect is a general mammalian effect, that is why there is a black market for ketamine, or Special K as people call it as a recreational drug. Trouble is, humans know what the effect is, the kitties don't understand and can be terrified by the visual effects.

Per Lausund

Staff member
Don't worry about the ketamine, as long as it's covered by a good sedative (that lasts longer) you won't get the hallucinations, and it is a very safe drug. I'm not sure about the ace, though. Stopped using that years ago, myself, there are so many better sedatives (and reversible ones) available.
As B says, it's hardly critical surgery (and it's very simple), so you may want to ask around. SVs are not difficult medication-wise...