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Another Anesthesia thread


I went to the vet today to talk again about the spay (no I haven't done it yet lol). Nailah also had a stinky baby tooth (phew it fell out and her breath is so much better!)

I know I've beat this to death, but the I found a vet locally who has been in close contact with an anesthesiologist and said we have one of two options to go without ketamine:

1. All isoflourine gas. She definitely didn't recommend this. Her reasoning behind it was that it takes a LONG time and A LOT of gas for the cat to go under and during that time a cat gets extremely stressed and that having a heartattack is a possibility. She said that using one drug alone isn't the best because the cat could wake up and it is a lot more stressful.

2. Isoflourine, Dexmedetomidine paired with butorphanol to get her sedated enough to use propofol since it is an intravenous injection. She said that the risks here were that you had to use A LOT less isoflourine since the dex lowers the heart rate so much.

I wanted the communities opinion before I proceeded. Have any of you heard of the latter option being used on a savannah? I liked that the vet was open to do research and was very willing to look into my questions AND the breed. She said she's done surgeries on bengals and (some other breed I can't remember now). But it sounded like since she emailed an anesthesiologist, that it would be her first time doing the latter. And I'm a little apprehensive of her trying something she's never done before, as you all have been very great to mention the dangers in getting the vet to do something outside of their comfort zone.

Here are my main questions:

A. Is she apprehensive about isoflourine alone because of the "danger?" Or is it the cost?

B. Do any of you have any experience with Dexmedetomidine and butorphanol?

C. Do you think it is possible if the vet "cares" enough and is very careful to follow the anesthesiologist's dosing instructions that it be okay to proceed with advice from an anesthesiologist's recommendation via email? Or should I just stick with what she is rehearsed in?

Thanks so much for your advice in advance..


Staff member
I personally would go with what my vet is familiar with...I had a long convo with my vet about the concerns of the SV community and his thoughts were that in his 20 years if practice, working with exotics, small cats and domestics, he has not lost a cat to anesthesia...ultimately you are going to get varying opinions depending on who answers this thread and you are going to have to decide what you feel comfortable with.


Savannah Super Cat
I agree with Paige. When I had Dash neutered, the vet told me they no long use just one type of Anethesia. He said there was about 6-8 different types used during different times of the procedure. I can't remember as it was 6.5 years ago now. I do know that Ketamine was one of the ones used. Dash had NO problems and came home fine. MHO, I would go with what the vet has the most experience with.


Staff member
Iso has been around for ages and is a very common agent used with cats. I don't think your vet has any concerns using Iso, she just doesn't want to use it without giving a pre-anesthetic beforehand.

I just had a vet using Dexmedetomidine (Dexdormitor is the animal version, or Precedex is the brand name) and butorphanol (Torbutrol or Stadol) on one of my kittens for a neuter. My regular vet usually uses propofol (Diprivan) and Servoflurane which is related to Iso. The bottom line is there are a LOT of different anesthetics and pre-anesthetic agents available.

What I wouldn't want however, is my vet to be experimenting with using new drugs he is unfamiliar with on my cat. I know there have been some bad reactions to ketamine in cats (not just Savannahs) but when I took in the 16 cats and kittens that needed evacuation from the Monument Wildfire in AZ last summer I took them to the local spay and neuter center, and ketamine was used on them - F3 through F7 - without incident. I have spoken to both vets and anesthesiologists about this and what has been recommended to me across the board is to allow the Provider use whatever agents he is familiar with, because you will have far more complications due to unfamiliarity with an agent than from the agent's potential side effects.

Per Lausund

Staff member
Problem with using isofl on its own is exactly what your vet describes. Induction with isofl will stress the cat beyond belief, and is in my mind not filed under the heading "animal welfare". Whatever anaesthesic you use, the animal should be premedicated/sedated (this also usually has a synergistic effect on the anaesthetic). let your vet work with what he or she is most comfortable with!
By the way, what's wrong with epidural anaesthesia?