Intraperitoneal continuous-rate infusion for the maintenance of anesthesia in laboratory mice (Mus musculus)

Rebecca Lorain Erickson, Matthew C. Terzi, Samer M. Jaber, F. Claire Hankenson, Andrew McKinstry-Wu, Max B. Kelz, James O. Marx*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Intraperitoneal injectable anesthetics are often used to achieve surgical anesthesia in laboratory mice. Because bolus redosing of injectable anesthetics can cause unacceptably high mortality, we evaluated intraperitoneal continuous-rate infusion (CRI) of ketamine with or without xylazine for maintaining surgical anesthesia for an extended period of time. Anesthesia was induced in male C57BL/6J mice by using ketamine (80 mg/kg) and xylazine (8 mg/kg) without or with acepromazine at 0.1 mg/kg or 0.5 mg/kg. At 10 min after induction, CRI for 90 min was initiated and comprised 25%, 50%, or 100% of the initial ketamine dose per hour or 50% of the initial doses of both ketamine and xylazine. Anesthetic regimens were compared on the basis of animal immobility, continuous surgical depth of anesthesia as determined by the absence of a pedal withdrawal reflex, and mortality. Consistent with previous studies, the response to anesthetics was highly variable. Regimens that provided the longest continuous surgical plane of anesthesia with minimal mortality were ketamine-xylazine-acepromazine (0.1 mg/kg) with CRI of 100% of the initial ketamine dose and ketamine-xylazine-acepromazine (0.5 mg/kg) with CRI of 50% of the initial ketamine and xylazine doses. In addition, heart rate and respiratory rate did not increase consistently in response to a noxious stimulus during CRI anesthesia, even when mice exhibited a positive pedal withdrawal reflex, suggesting that these parameters are unreliable indicators of anesthetic depth during ketamine-xylazine anesthesia in mice. We conclude that intraperitoneal CRI anesthesia in mice prolongs injectable anesthesia more consistently and with lower mortality than does bolus redosing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-557
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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